Microsoft Word, Customizing Default Settings

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Sometimes using a new program like Microsoft Word can get a little frustrating and intimidating. Especially trying to setup word default fonts, word default font sizes, show word margin ruler among other things.

Today, we are going to take a look at customizing word six ways that will make you love Microsoft word enough to use it every day, including customizing word default font and word default font size.

6 Ways to Customize Microsoft Word Default Fonts

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How to Setup Word Default Margins

Microsoft Word margins come installed with the margins set at 1.5 inches each top, bottom, left and right sides. This leaves a lot of wasted space around text when a page is printed.

To change the default margins follow one of these methods.

Method 1

  1. Double Click the Ruler.
  2. Change the Top, Bottom, Left or Right measurements at the top of the dialogue box.
  3. Press Set as Default located on the bottom left corner of the dialogue box.
  4. A new dialogue box will open asking you if you want to change the default settings for page setup. Press Yes to update the default settings.
  5. The changes you make will affect all new pages using the NORMAL template.

Method 2

  1. Go to the Layout Tab at the top of your screen.
  2. On the left side you will see Margins on the ribbon.
  3. Click the arrow right below and a series of margins will be displayed.
  4. Select custom margin at the bottom.
  5. Change the Top, Bottom, Left or Right measurements at the top of the dialogue box.
  6. Press Set as Default located on the bottom left corner of the dialogue box.
  7. A new dialogue box will open asking you if you want to change the default settings for page setup. Press Yes to update the default settings.
  8. The changes you make will affect all new pages using the NORMAL template.

How to Setup Word Default Fonts and Font Size

Every time you do a clean or re-install of Microsoft Word all your default settings are reset. This means that you have to go through the process of setting your default font and default font size. If you don’t set your word default font and size, this means that you have to change it manually every time you start a new document.

By setting your word default font and size, the default font will be setup for all documents you create.

Follow these steps to change your default font:

  1. From the Home tab, select the more notch located in the bottom right corner of the font section. (See diagram 1 below)
diagram of word with more settings
Diagram 1
  1. A dialogue box will come up which will allow you to select the font of your choice, as well as your font style (bold, italic) and the font size.
  2. Make your selections.
  3. If you selected text, you will see a preview of how your text will display in the preview box.
  4. Press Set as Default located on the bottom left corner of the dialogue box.
  5. A new dialogue box will open asking you if you want to change this document only or all documents. Press Yes to update all documents based on the NORMAL template.
  6. The changes you make will affect all new pages using the NORMAL template.

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How to Show the Ruler by Default

The ruler is located at just above your top page margin. There is also a ruler to the left of the page. Rulers are turned off by default to allow distraction free typing. But, they can come in handy to reference your margins, tabs, columns and table spacing.

To turn them on, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the View Tab
  2. In the middle of the ribbon, in the show section, tick off Ruler.
  3. You’ll now see the ruler with margins and tabs on the top and on the left side.
  4. MS Word will remember that you’ve turned on the ruler the next time you start it up.

How to Show or Disable Paragraph Marks in Word

Paragraph marks are turned on by default in some MS Word applications. They can be helpful to show you the end of a paragraph, a paragraph break or the end of a page or section.

They can be distracting. To disable paragraph marks follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Home Tab
  2. In the paragraph section, midway through the ribbon, find the backwards P with two vertical lines (¶)
  3. Select the Paragraph icon to show or hide paragraph marks.
  4. MS Word will remember your selection the next time you open the application.
  5. To turn it off, press the paragraph icon again.

How to Set the Default Paragraph Spacing in Word

The default spacing for normal text is usually set at 1.5 inches between sentences. You can either use the No Spacing Style, or you can change the default spacing for all word documents.

To change the default paragraph spacing, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Home Tab
  2. On the bottom left corner of the Paragraph Section, click the square with the downward arrow to show more paragraph settings. (see diagram 1 for visual)
  3. A new window will open, go to the spacing section and change the line spacing to Single.
  4. A popup will come up asking you if you want to make the change only for this document or for all documents. Select all documents to change the default.

How to Change the Measurement Units in Word

The measurement units are set by default. Depending on where you are they might be set to cm or they might be set to inches.

If the word measurement units are not in your preferred unit, follow these steps to change the default:

  1. Open the File Tab or menu and scroll all the way down to Options and select it.
  2. Go to the Advanced section and scroll down to display.
  3. Change the units in the Show measurement in units of: area to your preferred units of measurement.
  4. Select OK and go back to your document.
  5. You will see that the measurements on the ruler have been updated to the new measurement units you selected in the earlier step.

Inserting images in to word isn’t so difficult. Learn how in this article on How to Insert Images in Microsoft Word.

Watch Instructional Video

Conclusion: It’s easy to customize MS Word. Six easy customizations will have you using Word comfortably. Once you start to customize word, you won’t be apprehensive to make any other changes that will affect your default settings because you will know how to reverse changes in case you don’t like them after all.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you want to learn next.

About Us

Amy & Steph

Oh hello. Hi, I’m Amy and I’ve worked for a large educational organization with over 12,000 employees for more than 30 years.  Specializing in Human Resources Management and the field of administration, I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned throughout my career and in my spare time. 

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