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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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.

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