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: Chopped Off Page Borders.

Chopped Off Page Borders

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 16, 2019)

Gwen is having problems printing her page borders. It seems that the left and right borders print fine, but the top and bottom portions don't print at all—they are chopped off on the printout.

There are a number of things you can check, any of which could be causing the problem. The first thing to check is whether you have the document formatted for A4 paper, but are actually printing on letter-sized paper. This can cause some weird behavior, unless you instruct Word to do some automatic document conversion for you—select Tools | Options | Print tab and make sure the Allow A4/Letter Resizing option is selected.

Another thing to check is to make sure that the page border is formatted to always display in front of anything else on your document. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose Borders and Shading from the Format menu. Word displays the Borders and Shading dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Page Border tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Page Border tab of the Borders and Shading dialog box.

  4. Make sure the desired border is selected and specified for the document.
  5. Click the Options button. Word displays the Borders and Shading Options dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Border and Shading Options dialog box.

  7. Make sure the Always Display in Front check box is selected.
  8. Close all the dialog boxes.

You should now be able to print like normal. If this doesn't work, it could be because your printer cannot physically handle printing as close to the edge of the paper as your borders require. For instance, a default installation of Word prints headers and footers at one-half inch from the top and bottom of the paper. If you didn't adjust this position, then the page border prints even closer to the paper's edge than this—approximately 5/16 of an inch. Some printers, however, can't print anything this close to the paper's edge. For instance, some models of the Hewlett-Packard DeskJet have this problem, as described in this Knowledge Base article:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/291335

The solution is to adjust the position of your headers and footers, allowing the page border to move further from the paper edge.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (217) 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: Chopped Off Page Borders.

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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