How to Print Word Documents to Different Paper Sizes

Resize Word documents for printing, no matter what page size they started in

Man messing with printer

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Creating a Word document in one paper size doesn't mean you are limited to that size paper and presentation when you print it. Effect a size change for just a single printing, or 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.

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 drop-down menu (below the menus for Printer and Presets) and select Paper Handling from the choices. In an older version of MS Word, this option may appear in the Paper tab.
  3. Check the box next to Scale to fit paper size.
  4. Click the drop-down 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 the 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 drop-down menu); 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

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.