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: Non-printing Page Borders.

Non-printing Page Borders

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 17, 2011)

Periodically I have people inquire as to why one or more of their full-page borders don't print out. The short answer is: You are using too big of a page border. If the border extends too close to the edge of the paper, your printer may not be able to print it. This is because all printers have what is called "dead space" around the edges of the paper. This space is typically used for mechanical handling of the paper, and therefore cannot be printed upon. Different printers have different amounts of dead space; you should check with your printer manufacturer for complete information.

To correct your page borders and make sure they are not in the dead space area, 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 selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Page Border tab of the Borders and Shading dialog box.

  4. Click on the Options button. Word displays the Border and Shading Options dialog box.
  5. Adjust the Top, Bottom, Left, and Right margin settings so they are larger than the amount of dead space imposed by your printer.
  6. Click on OK two times.

When you reprint, if the border still won't print, then it could be an interaction between your page margin settings and your page border settings. You should make sure that the page border settings are larger than your dead space, but less than the applicable page margin. Thus, if your page border is set to print on the bottom at 36 points (one-half inch), then your page margin for the bottom of the page should be greater than one-half inch.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1830) 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: Non-printing 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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