Word: Set up pages for printing

January 15, 2009

I mostly live in the online world—I do my banking and pay bills via the internet, most of the stuff I read is online, and I rarely print anything out. If I do print a document out, I only have an ancient single-sided printer so page layout for printing doesn’t usually matter much to me.

However, I have some clients who have to produce documents that will be printed and bound and then distributed. Page layout suitable for printing  is important to them.

Enter mirror margins.

In Word, there’s an option to mirror the margins so that you can allow for duplex (double-sided) printing and the binding. Here’s how it works.

In a standard single-sided document, you might set the page margins so that you have more white space on the left side of the page. This allows for stapling, hole punching, and left side binding (such as coil or spiral binding) etc. The Print Preview image below shows this sort of layout—(1) is a slightly wider margin [just over 3 cm] than (2) [2.54 cm] on both the even (left) and odd (right) pages.

Standard single-sided page setup

Standard single-sided page setup

For duplex printing and binding, however, you want the inside margins to be wider than the outside margins, so that the even pages have a wider right margin and the odd pages have a wider left margin, as shown in the image below. As in the first image, (1) represents the wider value [just over 3 cm] and (2) represents the narrower value [2.54 cm]. Notice how the wider margin is between the even (left) and odd (right) pages. Notice also that with mirror margins turned on, there’s blue in the gap between even and odd pages when you view them in Print Preview mode.

Margins for duplex printing and binding

Margins for duplex printing and binding

You apply mirror margins to your document on the Page Setup window in Word 2003 or the Page Layout tab in Word 2007.

Word 2003

  1. Open the Page Setup window (File > Page Setup).
  2. Set your left margin to be slightly wider than the right margin.
  3. Select Mirror Margins from the Multiple Pages drop-down list.
  4. Click OK.
Apply mirror margins

Apply mirror margins in Word 2003

Word 2007

  1. Open the Page Layout tab.
  2. Click the arrow below Margins in the Page Setup group.
  3. Select Mirrored.
Setting up mirror margins in Word 2007

Apply mirror margins in Word 2007

That’s it!


  1. Thank you!! Great information.

  2. thanks, very helpful, unfortunately I don’t have a paypal account, maybe another time.

  3. Thanks for posting this! Though I have a much newer version of Word, it helped me to find the “Mirrored Margins” setting. Thanks!

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