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Understanding Mirror Margins

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Understanding Mirror Margins.

Word includes a unique setting that allows you to "mirror" the margins of a page depending on whether the page is an odd or even page. Mirror margins are typically used to designate a page layout that will eventually be two-sided.

You set up mirror margins by using the Page Setup dialog box. (See Figure 1.) To display the dialog box select the Page Setup option from the File menu.

Figure 1. The Margins tab of the Page Setup dialog box.

You can set top, bottom, inside (towards the binding) and outside (left and right) margins when you have mirror margins selected. You can also specify a gutter margin, which is the amount of space added to the inside margins to allow for binding of the final book.

If your document won't be printed on both sides of a piece of paper and you are not worried about any particular binding of the final output (including punching holes for use in a binder), then mirror margins won't be of any real value for you; you can safely ignore it. If, however, you will be duplexing your output and you do need to worry about binding, then choose mirror margins and play with your margin settings to get just the output that you need.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1091) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Understanding Mirror Margins.

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Comments for this tip:

Mom1002    29 Nov 2016, 12:52
To print a document double sided with a left binding (Like a Book)-
In the Margin box pictured above, click on the dropdown menu in the pages section- in the picture above it says normal- Using the dropdown select "MIRROR MARGINS". Hope this helps!
Linda Paul    22 Sep 2016, 09:18
For Bruce's problem: Click the drop down arrow in the "Pages" field above. It now is set to normal. The drop down provides mirrored;2-page per sheet; and book fold options.
Sue: the "play with margin settings" refers to the fact that each book binding is going to create a slightly different gutter requirement and also, the size of the margins you choose will depend upon the overall size of the pages you are working with. A 1" margin is fine for 8.5x11" paper, but looks crazy on a 6x9" inch paper. The choices you make will be stylistic.
For Karen: I wonder if there is an extra paragraph return in one of your headers. This has happened to me before, causing the left/right headers to not line up evenly across the open pages.
Hope this helps.
Sue    21 Sep 2016, 17:07
This is the most useless piece of "help" I have ever read! How about some actual instructions, not "play with". I can already do that
Bruce    28 Dec 2015, 15:45
This is frustrating. The figure doesn't include the word "mirror" nor does it refer to "inside" and "outside". In all, you haven't done anything but promise. Where is the delivery?
karen    04 Aug 2014, 10:35
So the mirror margins is working fine for the side margins... but now the odd and even pages top margin will not line up if I have it set for different headers (same sixe heading just different words - book title odd - authors name even)

How do I fix this???
Linda    10 Apr 2013, 10:06
Are you saying that your odd numbered pages don't align correctly? If so, I suspect that this is a header/footer (depending on where your page numbers are located) problem. There is an entire section in the help forums dedicated to headers/footers and page numbering. Also, in my manuscript printing experience, the first page is an odd numbered page, (recto). Even numbered pages are on the left (verso)Not sure if that helps or not.
Tom Feltman    09 Apr 2013, 08:36
Sir: I write Western Novels and lately I have taken to printing my own manuscripts and then take them, along with my cover, to a local printer for printer. I can set up my margins, getter left etc., and the first, or even numbered page prints fine but when I flip the page my printing does not line up. Do I have to set the margins for all even numbered pages and then reset some numbers for the odd page to line up ok. Please help

Tom Feltman

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