How to Print Word Documents to Different Paper Sizes

Resize Word document for printing, no matter what page size they were created in

Man messing with printer
moodboard/Getty Images

Creating a Word document in one paper size doesn't mean you are limited to that size paper and presentation when you print it out. Microsoft Word makes it easy to change the paper size when it's time to print. You can make the size change for just a single printing, or you can save the new size in the document. 

The option is easily accessible in the print setup dialog. When the paper size is changed, your document automatically scales to fit the paper size you choose. Microsoft Word will show you how the resized document will appear, along with the positions of text and other elements such as images, before you print.

How to Resize Word Documents for Printing

Follow these steps to select a specific paper size when printing your document.

  1. Open the print dialog by opening the Word file you want to print and clicking File > Print in the top menu. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+P.
  2. In the print dialog box, click the dropdown menu (below the menus for Printer and Presets) and select Paper Handling from the choices. If you are using an older version of MS Word, this may be under the Paper tab.
  3. Make sure the box next to Scale to fit paper size is checked.
  4. Click the dropdown menu next to Destination Paper Size. Select the appropriate size paper you are planning to print to. (This option may be found in a Scale to paper size option in older versions of Word.)
    For example, if your document will be printed on legal size paper, select the US Legal option. When you do, the document size on screen changes to legal size and the text reflows to the new size.
    The standard letter size for Word documents in the U.S. and Canada is 8.5 inches by 11 inches (in Word this size is labeled as US Letter). In other parts of the world, the standard letter size is 210mm by 297mm, or A4 size.
  5. Examine the resized document on screen in Word. It shows how the content of the document will flow in the new size, and how it will appear once printed. It usually displays the same right, left, bottom, and top margins.
  6. Make any other changes to print preferences that you need to, such as the number of copies you want to print and which pages you wish to print (available under Copies and Pages of the dropdown); if you want to do two-sided printing if your printer is able to do so (under Layout);  or if you wish to print a cover page (under Cover Page).
  7. Click the OK button to print the document.

Saving Your New Paper Size Selections

You have the option to save the size change permanently to the document or to keep the original size. 

If you want to make the change permanent, select File > Save while the document displays the new size. If you want to retain the original size, do not click Save at any point.