Word: Turn off pagination

October 12, 2009

If you’re working in a long or large document, Word’s background pagination can become a productivity killer. While it’s occurring, you can’t work as fast as usual, and sometimes, you can’t work at all until the paginating stops.

You can turn off this background pagination, but only in certain view modes in Word. You cannot turn it off when you are in Page Layout or Print Preview modes for example, as Word needs to repaginate to correctly display page and section breaks, as well as when printing. In these view modes, the check box to turn off Background Pagination remains checked and grayed out.

To turn off Background Pagination:

  1. Switch to Normal view (Word 2003 — shown below) or Draft view (Word 2007) by clicking the relevant icon in the bottom left corner or your document’s window.
  2. Turn off the background pagination option:
    • Word 2003: Go to Tools > Options > General tab and clear the Background repagination check box. If it is grayed out, repeat step 1 as you aren’t in a view mode that allows background pagination to be turned off.
    • Word 2007: Click the Office button Office button, then click the Word Options button. Select Advanced on the left, then scroll down to the General area on the right. Clear the Enable Background Repagination check box.

Note: Microsoft states “Repagination in Word cannot be totally turned off. This is because Word has to repaginate the document in page layout and print preview in order to correctly display the document.” in this Support article:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/120106. Although the Support article says it applies only to early versions of Word (Word 6.0 anyone?!), I couldn’t find a more recent one, and I suspect the same provisos still apply. The only other statement I could see about it in a quick search of the Microsoft site was this for Word 2003: “Background repagination Repaginates documents automatically as you work. This option is unavailable when you use page layout view because it works automatically in that mode and you can’t turn it off.” (http://office.microsoft.com/en-au/word/HP051895231033.aspx)

[Links last checked September 2009]


  1. Need help with document — keep getting solid line acrosss bottom of document I’m working on — looks solid across the entire page — want to get rid of it what is it and how do i do it ?

    came here looking to get rid of repagination which happens all the time — we’ll see hopefully that your fix worked .


  2. hi

    you just have to change the style of footer/page number

    lousy MS Office


  3. Even in the Normal view, the repagination is taking place. Any help?

  4. Hi Mohan

    I’m out of ideas. Try asking your question on the Microsoft Answers forum: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/word


  5. Re: Pagination, Word 2007. Found your listed steps OK, but the required check box is gray and I wasn’t able to un-check it.

  6. Hi Jim

    Make sure you’re in Normal view (see the intro before the steps and step 1), otherwise it won’t work.


  7. this application for word software is true
    you have a mistake in a word file
    it (repagination)have been made because you changed some setting of word software
    please find it
    for Example change at page layout:
    may be setting and margin for a page be different with other page
    ** 1- select all page of file
    2- go to page layout–> margin-> last custom
    when setting and margin for all page be same
    fixed error
    lost repagination

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