Software

Display gridlines in a Microsoft Word document

Susan Harkins shows you how to use Microsoft Word's gridlines settings to position text and objects in your documents.

A while back, I showed you how to make graph paper using Excel--it's a neat trick. You can display gridlines in Word—but you can't print them. That's a pretty big limitation. However, Word's gridlines are meant to be guide rules, not printable borders. As guide rules, gridlines can be very useful for positioning objects, pictures, even text.

To enable Word's gridlines in Word 2007/2010, do the following:

  1. Click the Page Layout tab.
  2. Click the Align dropdown in the Arrange group.
  3. Check View Gridlines. To disable gridlines, uncheck View Gridlines.

To control the gridlines, choose Grid Settings from the Align dropdown. These settings let you enable snap-to grids, snap-to objects, adjust the size of the gridlines, and more. The most interesting to me, is the Use Margins option in the Grid Options section. If you uncheck this option, Word will extend the grid to the margins.

In Word 2003, enable gridlines as follows:

  1. On the Drawing toolbar, click Draw.
  2. Click Grid.
  3. Check Display Gridlines.

Unfortunately, I am unable to determine any way to print these gridlines and every resource I've consulted confirms that you can not print Word's gridlines. If you know of a way to print Word's gridlines, please share!

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About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

6 comments
stapleb
stapleb

I'm with Margie in that a print screen would be the only way to print the gridlines. On another point, I was doing some work with a company and someone had turned on the gridlines and left them visible on PCs that they did not use daily. The tech support people didn't know how to turn off the gridlines and it was causing inordinate angst amongst so many other users who had access to the machines. So on behalf of all those confused users, if you are borrowing a PC, please turn off gridlines once you have finished using them for your layout purposes.

TeeKay
TeeKay

Use something like "Snagit" to copy the page(s)and then print. Terence Kierans www.virtualservices.com.au

oledave
oledave

I have no clue as to why you would want a document on grid lines. But it is possible to constuct your own gridlines using vertical and horizontal lines. Edit your text as transparent and apply it to either under or over the grid you have created. What a hassle! Why not use gridline paper and print your text on it?

MargieHendo
MargieHendo

There's always the last-resort option of taking a screenshot of your page. It is possible to get a reasonable result this way, and it may work for some purposes.

basil.cinnamon
basil.cinnamon

There is always the old trick of creating an N x M table and formatting the borders. That will give you a printable set of gridlines. You will also be able to position the table as you see fit. We use this trick a lot (with no table borders) to align complicated text on a page, by simply inserting the text snippets in the appropriate cells.

ssharkins
ssharkins

Yes, that would certainly work -- thanks for the idea.

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