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Printing Basics in MS Word Tutorial

Free Online Microsoft Word Tutorial

* Printing a Document
* Specify What to Print
* Paper Size
* Page Orientation
* Setting Page Margins

You can determine how a document looks when you print it by changing the margins, orientation (landscape or portrait) and paper size, and then you can print some of your document or all of it.

Test your MS Word skills with the corresponding FREE Online Multiple Choice
Printing Basics Test



* Printing a Document

We've all been there: you spent hours designing a work-of-art document only to press print and discover half of your work-of-art is not printing.  Or, worst case scenario, you urgently need to print your 400 page thesis or report for work and despite your best efforts, you just cannot appear to get the document to print correctly.  These and other printing-related scenarios can be frustrating to say the least.  The purpose of this tutorial is to introduce the basics of printing a document in Word and where to find print settings to ensure printing success every time you press the Print button.

To print a document:

1.  Click on the File button on the Ribbon to launch the Backstage View.

2.  In the Backstage View, click on the Print tab (circled in yellow) in the left-hand side panel:

Free Microsoft Word Tutorial - Printing Basics - Printing a Document 1


3.  This will open the Printing area of the Backstage View.  The middle panel contains options and settings
to print a document whilst the panel on the right side provides a Print Preview.

4.  Reviewing your document in the Print Preview panel will give you an idea of what the document will look like when printed. 

5.  Use the Zoom and Page Navigation buttons (both circled in yellow in the screenshot below) to get a close-up view of each page in your document:


Free Microsoft Word Tutorial - Printing Basics - Printing a Document 2


6.  Use the Print Preview to ensure that all the parts of your document fit
on the correct number of pages and that nothing is cut off.  Also check that tables and graphics are displaying as you would like them to print.

7.  Use the Copies box to enter how many copies of the document you wish to print or leave on the default one copy to print only one.

8.  To print the document, press the large Print button located in the middle panel of the Print area. 

To quickly print a document, press Ctrl+p on your keyboard.  This will take you directly to the Print area of the Backstage View.


* Specify What to Print

Printing is expensive not to mention bad for the environment when you consider all the trees that had to be chopped down to give us the paper!  Even if saving the environment is not your thing, standing by a printer waiting for a 40 page document to print when you only needed pages 4 to 6, may be just as unappealing.

Luckily Word comes packed with options to set which pages or even sections in a document to print:

1.  Launch the Print area by pressing on the File button and click on Print in the right-hand Panel.  Alternatively, press Ctrl+p on your keyboard to launch the Print area.

2.  Look out for a button labelled Print All Pages (circled in yellow in the screenshot below) in the middle panel of the Print area:

Free Microsoft Word Tutorial - Printing Basics - Specify What to Print

3.  Click this button and select one of the printing options:

  • Print All Pages – this is the default selection and will print your entire document;
  • Print Selection – select the pages or sections you wish to print before accessing the Print area to print only your selection;
  • Print Current Page – this will print the current page that your cursor is positioned on only;
  • Print Custom Range – this allows you to set which pages you wish to print.  Enter the page numbers and/or page ranges into the Pages box.  Type page numbers separated by commas, for example 5, 8, 32.  Ranges can be inserted by using a hyphen to connect them, for example, 5-12, 13-22.

4.  Press Print after setting the above page ranges to print only your selection.




* Paper Size

Depending on what a document will be used for, there are a plethora of paper sizes to choose from.  For example, Legal, Letter, A4, A3 and Executive are a few of the pre-set paper sizes that can be selected.  For certain types of documents it may even be a requirement that a document be set to a specific size, for example, legal firms often use the Legal paper size to submit documents to a court on.

To change the paper size of a document in the Print area settings page:

1.  Launch the Print area by pressing on the File button and click on Print in the right-hand Panel.  Alternatively, press Ctrl+p on your keyboard to launch the Print area.

2.  To change the current paper size of your document, you need to find the Paper Size button in the middle panel.  It is not called Paper Size, but instead you may identify it by the fact that it will display the paper size currently set as well as a size, for example A4 8.27" x 11.69" (as circled in yellow in the screenshot below):

Free Microsoft Word Tutorial - Printing Basics - Paper Size

3.  Clicking on this button opens a list of paper size options.  To select one to apply to your current document, click on the required paper size in the list.

4.  Be sure to examine the Print Preview of your document after changing the paper size to ensure all your content fits correctly on the new paper size.




* Page Orientation

There are only two page orientation types, namely Portrait and Landscape.  Depending on what you need to use a document for, you may choose either of these orientations depending on which will display the content of your pages best.  Documents that comprise complex tables, diagrams, graphics, posters, flyers and maps are often best suited to Landscape Orientation, whilst textual documents are best suited to Portrait Orientation. 

To change the page orientation of a document in the Print area settings page:

1.  Launch the Print area by pressing on the File button and click on Print in the right-hand Panel.  Alternatively, press Ctrl+p on your keyboard to launch the Print area.

2.  In the middle panel of the Print area, look out for a button labelled either Portrait Orientation or Landscape Orientation (circled in yellow in the screenshot below):

Free Microsoft Word Tutorial - Printing Basics - Page Orientation

3.  Click this button and select either Portrait Orientation or Landscape Orientation. 

4.  Remember to review the Print Preview of your document to ensure your document still looks great and will print correctly.



* Setting Page Margins

This option may possibly be your biggest aid in printing a document, ensuring your contents fit on the required number of pages and that no part of the document is inadvertently cut off by the printing margins. 

To set page margins for a document in the Print area settings page:

1.  Launch the Print area by pressing on the File button and click on Print in the right-hand Panel.  Alternatively, press Ctrl+p on your keyboard to launch the Print area.

2.  In the middle panel of the Print Area, look out for a button that has the word Margins preceded by a label such as Narrow, Wide, Normal and Moderate (circled in yellow in the screenshot below):

Free Microsoft Word Tutorial - Printing Basics - Setting Page Margins

3.  Click on the Page Margin button and select an option from the pre-set margins: Normal, Narrow, Moderate and Wide.

4.  Study the Print Preview of your document in the right-hand panel of the Print area to ensure that none of the content of your document is cut off (your margins are too narrow) or that you don't have large areas of white space surrounding each page (your margins are too wide).

Remember, there is a non-printable margin area on each page in a document.  Setting margins to zero will not override this as it depends on your printer driver whether or not you can bleed (formatting a document with backgrounds or graphics that flow up to or off of the edges of a page) graphics or backgrounds into this area. 

Test your MS Word skills with the corresponding FREE Online Multiple Choice
Printing Basics Test