Configure MS Word to fit your needs

If you're a frequent Microsoft Word user and want to customize some of its default settings, we can help. Learn how to change Word's default file locations, fonts, and page margins.

As a Word user, you’ve probably realized that in Microsoft’s zest to be helpful, it has established a great number of preset defaults. Instead of accepting the aggravation of Word’s preset configuration, you should change the defaults to fit your needs. The following instructions will walk you though the process of changing Word’s default file locations, fonts, and page margins. If you are a constant Word user, these changes can make your life a little easier.

Changing your default document directory
When saving or opening a file, Word automatically uses the My Documents folder. Of course, you can easily change to a different directory, but this takes time and effort. If you consistently store your documents in a directory other than My Documents, you probably need to change the default.

With Word open, click Tools from the toolbar. Then click Options to open the Word Options window shown in Figure A. Depending on your version of MS Word, the Options window may look slightly different, but should function basically the same.

Figure A
The Microsoft Word Options window

Select File Locations from the displayed tabs. Highlight the File Type Documents and click the Modify button. The Modify Location window, shown in Figure B, will appear, and from here you can change the file location path. Don't forget to click on the OK button when you’re done. Otherwise, you may lose your changes.

Figure B
You can change several default file locations from this window.

Changing the default font
Although you can easily change the font from the Word toolbar, the Times New Roman default font returns each time you open a new Word document. To change this, click on the word Format above the toolbar and then on the word Font. From the Font window, shown in Figure C, you can select the default font’s style, size, and color.

Figure C
From here you can change Word’s default font.

When you are finished, don't click on OK. Instead, select Default. You will be prompted that you are about to change the defaults for the Normal template. This means that whenever you open a blank document or start a new document, those new files will use your new font settings. If you have made the changes you desire, click OK.

Changing the default page margins
Microsoft has also preset your document margins to 1 inch vertical and 1.5 inches horizontal. While these margins can be changed from the Page Setup window, changing it for every new document can be a pain. To change this setting, click File on the toolbar. Next, click on Page Setup to open the window shown in Figure D. Adjust the margins to your liking and select Default when finished. If you have made the changes you wanted, click OK.

Figure D
From here, you can change both the horizontal and vertical margins.

Wrapping up
Whether you are using Word to type letters or to write a book, you need the program to meet your needs. Changing some of the defaults can make your life just a little bit easier. So make the change!
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