Unwanted Lines on Printout

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 12, 2016)

Subscriber Josh Ginn wrote about a problem that recently cropped up with his printouts. It seems that he's started getting what he describes as "corner lines" on his documents, where the margins get set.

At first glance, this could be a case of having text boundaries turned on. This is a setting in Word that displays a dotted line around margins, columns, and paragraphs. You can turn text boundaries on and off in this manner:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the View tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The View tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Clear or set the Text Boundaries box, as desired.
  5. Click on OK.

With that being said, the problem in Josh's case probably isn't related to text boundaries, because he describes his problem as being on printouts. (Text boundaries are only displayed on the screen; they don't appear on printouts.) This means that the problem must be related to the printer driver.

The "corner lines" mentioned by Josh sound like what typographers refer to as crop marks. They appear at the corners of printouts as a guide to indicate the point at which a page should be cropped, or cut. Word doesn't include the capability to print crop marks, but some printers can print them--particularly if the printer handles oversized paper.

If there has been a recent update in your printer driver, or if there has been a new printer installed on your system, the appearance of the crop marks is probably related to that change. Different printer drivers provide different functionality, so you will need to check the settings in the printer driver to see if you can discover a setting that controls the crop marks. To get to the printer driver settings, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Print from the File menu. Word displays the Print dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  2. Figure 2. The Print dialog box.

  3. Using the Name drop-down list, select the printer you want to use.
  4. Click the Properties button. Word displays Properties dialog box for the selected printer. At this point, everything that is displayed is controlled by the printer driver, not by Word.
  5. Search through the various tabs and controls to uncover the desired control.
  6. Make any desired changes.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Print as you normally would.

There is one other thing to check out if you are using Word 2002 or Word 2003. The unwanted marks could be due to the languages specified in Word. Microsoft describes this problem (and solution) in this Knowledge Base article:


The short answer is that you can remove the unwanted marks by disabling support for Asian languages, such as Chinese, Japanese, or Korean.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (145) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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