Changing Section Level Formatting MS Word

Dennis Faas's picture

Most section-level formatting is controlled by the Page Layout dialog box found on the File menu of MS Word. The dialog box is made up of four tabs, each controlling a separate category of section formatting: Margins, Paper Size, Paper Source, and Layout.


Since margins are section-level formatting, when you change any margin at any point in a section, you change that margin for the entire section. If your document is just one section, then changing any margin at any point in the document changes that margin for the entire document.

To change one or more margins:

  1. Click File | Page Setup.  
  2. Click the Margins tab, if necessary, to bring that screen forward.  
  3. Change the Top, Bottom, Left, or Right margin as necessary.  
  4. Make changes to any other settings as necessary.  
  5. Next to Apply to, indicate to which sections the changes should apply.  
  6. Click OK.

Below is a short description of each Apply To option.

  • Gutter: Amount of space added to the left side of each page for binding purposes. If you enable Mirror margins (see below) the space is added to the inner margin.  
  • From edge/Header: The distance from the top edge of the page to the top of the header.  
  • From edge/Footer: The distance from the bottom edge o f the page to the bottom of the footer.  
  • Mirror margins: Enable if you want to print on both sides of the page and you want the outer margins and inner margins of facing pages to match. If enabled, Left and Right margins change to Inside and Outside margins, respectively.  
  • 2 pages per sheet: Enable if you want to divide each page into 2 pages. Used for booklet printing. If enabled, Top and Bottom margins change to Outside and Inside margins, respectively.  
  • Gutter Position: Indicate whether Gutter Position should be Left or Top. Choose Top if you're binding along the page's short edge. Choosing Top disables Mirror margins and 2 pages per sheet options.

Additional settings on the Margins tab of the Page Setup dialog box are explained below:

  • Apply to: Indicate whether the change should be made to:  
  • Whole document: Applies change to all sections of the document.  
  • This section: Applies change to the current section only. Available only in documents with multiple sections, and if text or sections are not selected.  
  • This point forward: Inserts Next Page section break and applies the change to the new section. Available only if text is not selected.  
  • Selected text: Inserts Next Page section break above selected text and applies change to new section. Available only if text is selected.  
  • Selected sections: Applies change only to selected sections. Available only if text is selected.  
  • Default: Click to make this change the default for new documents. Clicking this button updates the

In a future article, we'll go over how sections affect headers and footers.

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