PCTips

Why are my Word borders not printing properly?

You can produce decorative borders easily with Word, but the borders sometimes don't print properly.

One reason for this can be because the printer and/or document is set up for the American "Letter" size of paper instead of the European "A4" size. See my tip here to correct this.

But there is another reason for the borders not printing fully.

Most printers cannot print up to the edge of the paper on all 4 sides (if at all). So you need to find out the minimum margins for your particular printer and then set the borders to print inside them and the text to print inside the borders.

Microsoft make this simple concept quite difficult to implement, but it can be done:

    1. Set the measurement units to "points"
    Microsoft measures the borders only in "points" so to set up the page we need to measure everything in points. When you have finished you can change the measurement units back to inches or centimetres.

    Open a new blank document in Word, left click on Tools, then on Options then on the General tab. In the Measurement units box select select "Points" and then left click on the OK button.

    2. Find out the minimum printer margins.
    Left click on File, then on Page Setup..., then on the Margins tab.
    Set all the margins to zero, then left click on OK.
    A box will open saying "One or more margins are set outside the printable area of the page. Choose the Fix button to increase the appropriate margins."
    Left click on the Fix button and Word will change the zero margins to the minimum figures that your printer will allow.
    Write these margin figures down on a label and stick it to your printer. This is the only way I know of finding out the minimum margins. Wouldn't it be nice if the printer manufacturers printed them on the printer, or at least put them in the instruction book? Every different model of printer has different minimum margins, so why aren't they easy to find?

    (And now you realise why Word documents that are created for one printer don't necessarily print the same on another printer....!)

    3. Create your document and select the decorative border
    Create a document then left click on Format, then on Borders and Shading... and then on the Page Border tab.
    Create your decorative border (using Style, Color, Art, etc.). Look in the Width box to see and remember the width of the border that you have selected (in "points").
    Left click on the Options button. Here you can set the margins for the border. Set them all to the same small number of points (say 4 or 8) (and remember it) and select the Measure from: Text option. Left click the OK box and then the next OK box.

    4. Set your page margins
    Left click on File, then on Page Setup..., then on the Margins tab.
    Set each margin to be the sum of: the border width plus the border margin plus the minimum print margin. Left click on the OK button.

    As an example, my current printer has minimum print margins of:
    top: 8.4pt, bottom: 39.6pt, left: 8.4pt, right: 8.4pt
    My fancy border has a width of 28 points and I set it to be 4 points away from the text.
    So I need to set my page margins to be at least:
    top: 41pt, bottom: 72pt, left: 41pt, right: 41pt to ensure that the borders are fully printed.

    (You may like to know that there are approximately 72 points in an inch and approximately 28 in a centimetre.)

    5. Set the measurement units back to centimetres or inches
    Left click on Tools, then on Options then on the General tab. In the Measurement units box select what you want and then left click on the OK button.