Configure Your Word 2010 Document Layout

October 27, 2010, By Christian Cawley

Editing your Word document should mean more to you than simply pressing F7 to make sure your spelling and grammar are correct. Naturally this depends upon what sort of document you are writing, but generally speaking you should pay some attention to your Word 2010 document layout.

For instance, you can alter page orientation, add columns, alter borders and even apply indents and spacing to your documents in order to end up with something that looks presentable and interesting, and not simply lines and lines of text.

When you create a new Word document from scratch, one of the first things that you should do is format your page setup, and Word 2010 features a full section for preparing this. While this is something you might prefer to do after the page is written (and it can be done at any time) you’ll get the best results and doing it first.

Setup Your Word 2010 Layout

With your new, blank document on the screen, go to the Page Layout section. Here, you will see a variety of tools intended to help with the visual presentation of your document; we’ll concentrate initially on the Page Setup section.

To alter the orientation of your page – that is, to switch from portrait to landscape – use the Orientation drop-down. Meanwhile, the Margins drop-down menu comes with a five included presets that can be used on pages of either orientation.

You should also consider your page size before starting a document, especially if it is one that will eventually be printed. Use the Size drop-down to choose a suitable paper size; typically, UK and European users will use A4 while US users will use the Letter format.

Finally, if your document will be using columns, get this setup early – use the Columns drop-down to choose between one or more columns, each with different orientation. Custom options are also available; similarly, clicking the arrow in the lower right corner of the Page Setup section will display the full Page Setup dialogue for you to alter each of these layout options in more detail.

Inserting a Page Background and Borders

Along with background colours and watermarks, pages in Word 2010 documents can be given borders.

These options are all available in the Page Background section on the Page Layout tab – we’ll look at each in turn.

Watermark – this option provides a selection of default phrases (“Do Not Copy”, “Draft”, etc.) that can be added to every page in the document. Also in this drop-down is the option to set a Custom Watermark (text or image) as well as the Remove Watermark switch.

Page Color – although not ideal for documents that will be printed, you can change the background colour of the document you are working on. This is particularly useful for getting an idea of what a document you plan to print on non-white paper might look like; for instance, you might use the Page Color drop-down to set a light blue background if your supply of printer paper is a light blue colour. Conversely, this might be a purely digital document and you might choose to create a striking effect by changing the background colour to a dark red or blue or even black, and changing the font colour to white.

Finally, the Page Borders dialogue will allow you add borders to pages and sections of text, as well as adding shading to selected areas. Add a border by going to Page Borders > Page Border and choosing from a preset on the left; with this selected, choose a line Style (you might have solid or dashed, for instance), a Color, any Art you wish to use, and don’t forget to select which borders (left, right, top, bottom) you wish to add in the Preview section. Finally decide whether the borders will Apply to the document as a whole or individual pages.

These functions are designed to help you present your Word document in the best way possible – don’t forget to try them out!

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