« Baby steps | Main | Margins Mailing List »

August 23, 2007



I just heard your story on NPR. Until you get Microsoft to change the default margins on Word, it would be helpful if you posted instructions on how individuals can change the default margins on their template document.


I can do you one better. In Japan, even in the highest corporate echelons scrap paper (paper already printed on one side, discolored, incorrectly punched etc) is used by EVERYONE for note taking. I routinely use junk mail that's only been printed on one side to write letters and for informal corrrespondence.

Christine Nilsen Marciano

On your WORD screen, go to FILE, then PAGE SET UP. Click the DEFAULT key, and you'll be offered "Do you want to change the default settings for the page set up? This change will affect all new documents based on the normal template." Done, baby! I set mine to 0.5" top, bottom, left & right. What a difference! ...and all still readable! I work for a major insurance carrier, and I'm looking into making this change on all paper policies that are mailed out...plus we'll save on postage.


I'm a lawyer in Indiana and have started using the "clean" side of paper from old, closed files to print out documents for new files. I have really cut down on the amount of new paper I need by doing this, and now several people in my firm, as well as the senior partner of another local firm have started doing the same thing. I hope this practice catches on just like your changing the margins campaign.


I know you advise users that there isn't a way to permanently change their margin settings, but mac users on word 2008, and possibly 2004, can edit the template file word uses so when a user selects to create a new blank document it uses the new settings.

All the user needs to do is find the template file. For word 2008,
the normal template file is located at:

Users home directory >Library>Application
Support>Microsoft>Office>User Templates>Normal.dotm

If they navigate to the above file, open it, change their margins and save the file, each time they start a new document it will have the new settings. IT IS IMPORTANT THEY KEEP THE FILENAME EXACTLY AS IT IS: Normal.dotm.

As I was typing this I decided to look through my old files and see
where ms office 2004 kept its default template. Locate the file the same was as described above only go to this directory.

Users home directory>Documents>Microsoft user data>Normal.dot

The file on my system does not have a file extension attached, but it recognizes the file as a .dot. USERS SHOULD OPEN THE (NORMAL) FILE FROM WORD BY GOING TO FILE>OPEN. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT NO OPEN BLANK DOCUMENTS EXIST OR WORD WILL NOT LET USERS SAVE THE (NORMAL) FILE.

I know if there is a way to do this on a mac that the windows version must work the same.

I hope this helps your users change the margins in a more hassle free way.


It would make a huge difference to change court rules on margins - as others have mentioned. I would recommend getting some environmental law groups at law schools to take on the issue. I'll try to contact some, but I thought it would be useful if others did too.

Thanks for your work!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Newsvine Environment News