How To Print All The Way To The Edge In Microsoft Word

You’re creating a document with Word that you want to turn into a nice full-page PDF. It has a gorgeous background color that will look great. But every time you convert it to a PDF, it ends up with ugly white borders at the edges, and Word warns you about printing beyond the printable margins. Dragging the margins and changing the Page Setup options does no good. How can you fix this?

Magic Margin

The secret is that the printable margins are defined in the paper Word thinks it’s “printing” to, not in the document itself. You need to define a new set of paper settings and use that. Then you can print “full-bleed” to the edge of the document, including graphics, lines, text and background colors. Here’s how:

Go to “File > Page Setup.” In the “Paper Size” dropdown menu, select “Custom Paper Sizes.” Here’s what that looks like in a Mac.


Now add a new paper size, and call it “Full Bleed.” Set the non-printable area to 0 on all sides. Here’s what that should look like.


Now you’re done. Your PDF document will look just as you see it in the visual preview, including background colors and other elements that reach the edge of the page.

(Picture credit)

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I'm Baron Schwartz, the founder and CEO of VividCortex. I am the author of High Performance MySQL and lots of open-source software for performance analysis, monitoring, and system administration. I contribute to various database communities such as Oracle, PostgreSQL, Redis and MongoDB. More about me.