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: Text Doesn't Wrap at Margin in Draft View.

Text Doesn't Wrap at Margin in Normal View

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 31, 2015)

Dave recently upgraded from Word 2000 to Word 2003, and noticed that the text displayed in Normal view wraps on the screen differently than it used to. In Word 2000, Dave's text would wrap at the right margin, as it was shown on the Ruler. In Word 2003, the text extended past the right margin (as shown on the Ruler) and only wraps when the right side of the document window is reached.

The problem being described by Dave isn't really a problem. It is a "feature" of Word that has been available for many, many years. You can control this feature by displaying the View tab of the Options dialog box (Tools | Options | View tab). Look for the check box labeled Wrap to Window. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The View tab of the Options dialog box.

This check box, when selected, makes the text in Normal and Outline views extend the full width of the document window, without regard to where the margin is set. This only affects what you see on the screen; it does not affect any printouts. If the check box is cleared, then the margins are minded and the text wraps where you expect it to wrap.

The need for this feature is rooted in history. The original intent of Normal view was to speed up work by foregoing an exact WYSIWYG format. In this view, Word does not worry about line breaks, margins and page breaks in the same manner as in the Print Layout view. Likewise, graphics objects are not displayed. The point is to release computer resources to facilitate doing the work of entering and editing content. The purpose of the Wrap to Window setting was to allow even more information to appear on-screen, since WYSIWYG wasn't being paid attention to in Normal view anyway.

It is not unusual for people, these days, to bypass using Normal view and instead using Print Layout view. The Wrap to Window setting has no bearing on this view, since the essence of Print Layout view is to show a very close representation of what your final printout will look like. If you want to use Normal view, there is nothing wrong with that (I do it all the time), but you'll need to pay attention to settings such as the Wrap to Window check box so that your display looks like you want it to.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (416) 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: Text Doesn't Wrap at Margin in Draft View.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Delays when Double-Clicking a Document Icon

Do you notice delays when you double-click a document icon, perhaps on your desktop? If you are confused by such delays ...

Discover More

Changes to Toolbars aren't Persistent

If you make changes to a toolbar in Word, you expect those changes to be available the next time you start the program. If ...

Discover More

Changing the Way Footnotes Are Numbered

Most footnotes in a document start numbering with the number 1 and proceed from there through the rest of your document. It ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

MORE WORDTIPS (MENU)

Modifying Behavior of the Open Dialog Box

The Open dialog box is one that few of us think about, but you can control how it behaves with a little bit of macro coding. ...

Discover More

Embedding Your Phone Number in a Document

One way you can designate your responsibility for a document is to add your phone number to it. There is no need to add your ...

Discover More

Changing Stubborn Ruler Measurements

Can't get the Ruler to reflect the measurements you want? Chances are good that you are suffering from a glitch caused by how ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 - 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing