Word: How to find out your printer’s printable area

March 10, 2011

I was interested in this official Microsoft Word blog post on using WordPad to find out your printer’s printable area: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2010/09/03/print-borders-without-problems/

However, the information provided in this post didn’t work for me in WordPad. Instead, I tried something similar in the various versions of Word that I have and I was able to see the minimum margins that my printer requires.

Here’s how:

  1. Open a new Word document.
  2. Go to page setup:
    • Word 2003: File > Page Setup
    • Word 2007 and later: Page Layout tab > Margins > Custom Margins
  3. Set all margins to 0.
  4. Click OK.
  5. You’ll get a message saying the margins are outside the printable area (the message may vary slightly depending on which version of Word you’re using). Click Fix.
  6. Your printer’s margins will now populate the margin fields.

[Links last checked April 2019]


  1. Why does this not work for Adobe Acrobat PDF printer of Acrobat X and Word 2010?

    Adobe PDF printer driver allows 0 size margins.
    Therefore the warning message “…outside printable are” will not occur for Adobe PDF Printer
    But printing form Word 2010 to the Adobe PDF printer results in the “famous” error message that margins are outside the printable area.

    Any ideas?

  2. i cannot print borders from this printer HP Deskjet 3050 series j610…even adjusting the margins to 0

  3. This does not work for me, the document still will not print. I have Word 2010 and my printer is a HP Rhotosmart C5280

  4. The problem is, I opened MSword, did what was suggested and got the real margins for my Brother printer which I already knew were the real margins because it had printed up to them before. The left margin said 0.13 inch. But I wanted 0.20 inch so I bumped it up to that in the Margin set up box, THEN when I went to print, it said margins outside printa ble area and when I said “Fix” it populated the left margin with 0.86 inch. THEN, when I closed word and tried setting the margins to zero again, it stuck with the 0.86 inch left margin.

  5. Have you tried the option to NOT fix the margins? I think that’s where it went wrong.

  6. What if I’m saving to .pdf and I don’t want the thing to look at my printer’s printable margins

  7. Hi Annalisse

    Saving to PDF makes little difference, as far as I know. The PDF driver is still a printer driver. The only way to test this is to set your default ‘printer’ to PDF and try that.


  8. This is really helpful information

  9. Thank you for the guidance..

  10. it doesnt work . still remains the same

  11. Thank you for the guidance.. It does work.

  12. Doesn’t work for me. Everytime I type and print on legal paper (8.5″ x 14″) whenever I “fix” the margins as suggested I always wind up with very wide bottom margin, e.g., 3.12″.

  13. all I want is a simple letter with margins

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