How to Set 1-Inch Margins in Word

By Kevin Lee

Although margins consist of empty space, these critical elements shape the way people perceive your document. Excessively large margins may waste valuable space and increase the number of lines in your pages. Narrow margins could cause printers to truncate the document's text and make lines longer. According to Patrick Lynch, author of Web Style Guide, "readability suffers" when readers must move their heads to view long lines of text. Even though Word's default margins are 1 inch, your margin size could differ. Word provides several ways to set your margins to 1 inch.

Check Your Margins

If you open a Word document and click "View" followed by "Print Layout," Word displays the document the way it would appear in a printout. In this view, a border appears around the document and you can see its top, right, bottom and left margins clearly.

Change Your Margins

Click "Page Layout" followed by "Margins" and you'll see the Margin Gallery, a menu that displays several margin settings styles. Each settings lists the sizes of the document's four margins. Click the "Normal" setting because it’s the one where all margin sizes are 1 inch. Word changes your margins to that size immediately and the text reflows to accommodate the new margin settings.

Create Custom Margins

After you click "Margins," you could click "Custom Margins" instead of clicking "Normal." When you click "Custom Margins," the Page Setup window opens and displays three tabs. Click "Margins," and you can type margin sizes manually in the Top, Left, Bottom and Right text boxes. The unit of measurement in those boxes is an inch so if you type 1" in a text box, Word sets that margin to 1 inch. The Margins tab in the Page Setup window also has a "Set as Default" button. Click that when you want your margin settings to apply to all documents. Otherwise, your changes only affect the one you're working on.

Drag to Change Your Margins

Instead of adjusting margins from the Page Layout menu, use your mouse to view changes in real time. Click "View" and put a check mark in the "Ruler" check box if none is there, to view the horizontal and vertical rulers. Find the shaded area on the horizontal ruler's left side; this area represents the left margin. Click and drag the shaded area's border to change your horizontal margin to the desired setting. Repeat these steps using the vertical ruler to change your vertical margin.

Set Your Gutters

Word allows you to adjust gutters, the space it reserves for binding pages. Examples of binding include joining pages using a staples or a three-ring binder. If your margin is 1 inch and you add a 1 inch gutter to the document's left side, the total empty space on that side is the sum of the margin and gutter space, or 2 inches. Set your document's gutter size by clicking "Page Layout" followed by "Margins." Click "Custom Margins," type a size for your gutter in the "Gutter" text box and select "Top" or "Left" from the "Gutter Position" text box depending on the desired gutter location.