6. Configuring the Print Options

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Printing documents is a very common process for most Word users. Learn how to optimize print settings to match specific printer and paper types.


Lesson Goal

Investigate Word’s printing configurations.

Print Settings

At the top, we can choose the number of copies.

The next setting asks what we’d like to print. We can choose to print the entire document, text that has been currently selected or specific pages by typing our criteria in the box below.

There are a number of ways to indicate which specific pages you wish to print. For example, if we wanted to print all the pages in a 9-page document except for pages 5 and 8, we could type 1,2,3,4,6,7,9, or 1-4, 6-7, 9.

Next, we can choose to print one-sided or two-sided. Note that the chosen printer must support 2 sided printing to enable these options.

When printing multiple copies we can choose to Collate the document. When set to Collated, the printer will print each copy in its entirety before printing the next copy. When set to Uncollated, the printer will print every copy of each page first before printing the next page.

Next, we can once again change the orientation and margin settings. Note that ideally, these settings will have been established well before printing. However, if you discover that your connected printer supports two-sided printing, it would be useful to set up mirrored margins before printing.

Next, we can choose the Paper Size. Make sure you have the corresponding paper in your printer.

Lastly, we can choose to print multiple pages of the document to 1 sheet of paper. There are two ways of doing this, with scaling and without.

Without scaling, this will print using the paper size set above. When we print, it will shrink each page in the document to fit 2 pages onto one sheet of paper.

However, we can avoid this by selecting Scale to Paper Size and choosing an appropriate paper size. If we choose a paper size which is exactly twice the size of the paper size chosen above, no shrinking will appear.

This is useful when you have run out of the appropriate paper size in your printer, but you have enough paper in the next size up.

Note that a sheet of A3 paper is twice the size of A4 paper which is twice the size of A5 paper. The lower the number, the larger the paper. Each number is always twice the size of the next highest number. Also, the page ratio is also scalable. The height of one paper size is always equal to the width of the next largest size and the width of the smaller size is always twice the height of the smaller size. As such, a landscape page of A3 is identical to two portrait A4 pages side by side.

Choosing a device

There are two types of devices. Real and Virtual. Real devices include printers and fax machines. These must be set up on your computer before printing in Word.

To print with a printer, choose one from the list and click print. The document should start printing shortly afterward.

When printing with a fax machine, you must add a contact number.

Virtual printers allow you to save the document to a file type. You can choose .pdf, .xps, and Onenote.

Both .pdf and .xps are types of documents designed for reading but not editing. It’s not uncommon for books and academic articles to use these file types. However, .pdf, created by Adobe, are far more widespread than Microsoft’s .xps.

OneNote is a sketching software which comes with Microsoft Office.

The advantage of using a virtual printer to save a document is that you can save the printer settings. This is useful if you wish to hand over a document to another person for printing only. This way the other person need only open the pdf and print without having to configure the Orientation, Page Size, Margins or number of pages per sheet.



In the previous lesson we showed you how to split text into multiple columns. In this lesson we'll investigate Words printing configurations.

As you may remember we previously covered how to manage the layout of the document, printing can be seen as a last step in configuring the layout. Let's open the print configuration menu by typing CTRL, P.

We'll start by choosing the number of copies, we'll select three.

We'll then move on to configuring the settings.

First we need to choose what to print, we can print the whole document, the current page, text that we've selected or a custom range of pages.

For example if we want to print pages one, two, three and six, we'll type 1-3, 6.

We'll then choose whether we want to print our document on one side or two sides.

Note that not all printers support printing on both sides.

Next we can choose to collate the document. When set to collated the printer will print each copy in it's entirety before printing the next copy.

When set to uncollated the printer will print every copy of each page before printing the next page.

As in a previous lesson we can also change the orientation.

Changing the orientation this late can create problems. It's advisable that you settle on an orientation before setting your print configuration.

Next we have the option to choose a page size, note that this will also have a big impact on the layout of your document. Therefore it's advisable to choose the page size early on in the document creation process, also make sure you have the matching paper in your printer.

After this we can choose the margins, this drop down is the same as a margins dropdown in the layout tab.

It's useful to have this setting here in case you intend to bind your document and you've decided to switch between printing on one side to printing on both sides.

In that case you should change your margin from normal to mirrored, to ensure that the gutter is on the correct side of page. We can also view and edit our gutter settings by clicking custom margins. The final drop down allows us to choose how many pages who wish to print per sheet. It's usually best to keep this as one, otherwise it will shrink the document to fit the desired number of pages to a single sheet, however we can fix this by scaling the paper to size. Scaling can be a very useful tool if you're out of your desired paper size. For example if you wish to print an A4 document and you just have A3 paper, you can print two pages of your document on A3 paper. This is because A3 paper is the exact size of two A4 sheets side by side, this also works for A5 documents and A4 paper.

To do this we'll keep the paper size set to A4 and choose to print two pages per sheet.

Next, we'll scale to paper size and select A3, this document will now print two pages for each side of A3 paper.

Note that you may need a paper trimmer to separate these A3 pages into distinct A4 pages.

Note that this relationship between different paper sizes doesn't apply to the North American standard sizes.

Once with configure the page and print settings we can move back up to the top of the screen and choose the printer, we have a few types of printers to choose from. To start, we have normal printers. Any installed printers will appear at the top of the list, to print the document just click print.

We then have fax machines, this allows you to send a document as a fax. When you click print you'll be prompted to enter a fax address.

Next, we have virtual printers, these work by saving the document as a certain file type.

This is slightly different from saving the file as this type directly in Word because it will save it with the printer settings you've selected.

This is useful if you want to print document later or on another machine, but you want to choose the printer settings now. Word supports three virtual printers by default. The most commonly used is print to PDF. A PDF is a type of document with limited editing functionality, it's usually use for reading documents rather than creating or editing them. Word can also print to XPS.

XPS documents are effectively a Microsoft version of a PDF document, however this format isn't an as widely used. Finally, we can print to a OneNote document. OneNote is a sketching software that comes with Microsoft Office. When we select a virtual printer clicking print will open a browser window where we can choose a directory and filename.

We'll enter the desired name, save it and view the resulting PDF document, let's stop here.

This concludes our course on adjusting the look of your document. The tools we covered give you many different options for adjusting your documents view and layout. We started by learning about page views and zoom level, both of which do not affect the final look of a document. We then learned about the layout options including margins, orientation and columns. These options do affect the final look. Finally we learned how to print a document and how printing options can also affect the layout of a document.

Using these tools will allow you to efficiently edit your documents and adjust the final layout to match professional standards.


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