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!

  4. Very nice, but when i do printing on both sides with mirror image, i found that the header on both pages is unequal, i mean on the front page the header is for example 2.5 cm from top page margin and on the back of the paper, the header of the next page “back page ” is at larger distance “….so all the odd pages have similar header and all the even pages have similar one which is not the same as odd ones? how to manage…
    thanks in advance

  5. Hi Sameh

    There’s a good chance that your header/footer distance ‘from edge’ values differ. If you’re using Word 2007 or later, double click in a header to open it and the Header & Footer Tools tab. On that tab there are settings for ‘Header from Top’ and ‘Footer from Bottom’. Note what they are for the first page, then go to the second page, third page etc. and see if they differ. If they do, change the values to the same value (e.g. 2.5 cm).


  6. thank you for your interest and response, i did that and i found header/footer distance ‘from edge’ values are equal, also i assured during printing that my page setup is letter and printing properties are the same ” letter page” and mirror image format??

  7. In my case too , the header / footer distance from edge values are same , still the alignment is off by one line of text . Please help.

  8. Further I set up the view grid option . I see that though the header / footer distance values are same , the footer is leaving one extra gridline . I do not know why .

  9. Hi Anand

    I’m sorry – I can’t hep you as I don’t understand what you mean by ‘alignment is off by one line of text’ or ‘leaving an extra gridline’.


  10. Mine are ok except when I get to section 7, and have started my page 1 numbering there, the margins switch so that the rest of the document has the wrong mirrored margin.

    In other words, the page right before has the narrower margin on the right – or centre of the doc when viewing two pages together (this will switch to wide centre margin when printing due to cover page), but the very next page (start of section 7) has the narrow margin on the right too (or edge of doc when viewing pages side by side).

    It is supposed to be the narrow mirrored margin on that page on the left handside. How do I fix it so that starting on that page the margins all are correct?

    I went through and changed all my sections to start on “New Page”, some were odd or even page. This fixed the rest of the document, but not right at that part (start of section 7)

  11. Ha – so I print reviewed and it fixed itself!

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