My short cuts – top and bottom margins

22 Feb

This is part of my series on how to avoid time-consuming “short cuts” and use Word in the right way to maximise your time and improve the look of your documents.

I have already published instructions on how to manipulate your left and right margins, but I’ve noticed some search engine searches have come through to Libro looking for information on top and bottom margins, so here are a few words about them.

First of all, make sure you can see your rulers! If you can’t see what I’m pointing to in the screenshots, go to this post and follow the instructions on making your rulers visible. I’ll wait here while you do that …

OK, all set, and rulers visible?

So, sometimes we might want to make the area we can use on the page a bit bigger. Classic reasons include wanting to fit a whole document on one or two pages, for example if you are making up a poster and you want to use the largest print area possible. Within reason, you can extend the upper and lower margins of your text to fit in a few more words.

Let’s have a look at these top and bottom margins. Look over to the left-hand ruler in your document. You should see this, which you will notice looks very similar to your top ruler:

You will notice that the white section indicates the area where you can type: where the space for text starts at the top (above) and where it finishes at the bottom:

Hover your cursor over the division between blue and white and you’ll see a slider and an arrow indicating that you can move them up and down. In this example, I’ve moved the top margin down – see how the first line of text has followed it down the page …

But of course you can also move it up if you want more room to type.

Do note, that you can’t move it infinitely and eventually, when you go to print, you will get an error message telling you that you have gone outside the print margins. So be careful, but within reason this will allow you to create that little bit more space on your page.

Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Word currently in use – Word 2003, Word 2007 and Word 2010, all for PC. Mac compatible versions of Word should have similar options. Always save a copy of your document before manipulating it. I bear no responsibility for any pickles you might get yourself into!

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Find all the short cuts here


Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Copyediting, Errors, New skills, Short cuts, Word, Writing


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3 responses to “My short cuts – top and bottom margins

  1. Gregg

    June 2, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Excellent guidance on customizing and changing my bottom margin. Until I came across your suggestion I remained at a loss as to how to undertake this action.



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