Solution: How would you print index cards in Word?

Read the solution to last week's Office challenge: how do you format and print index cards in Word.

Last week, we asked you how to format and print index cards using Word. You might be surprised to learn how easily Word manages this task - just use one of Word's built-in size options.

Before you start formatting Word, you need to check the printer. Ray Baker was the first to respond to the second part of last week's challenge. It won't make any difference what you do in Word if your printer can't physically push the index cards through (most can). Card stock is thicker than printer paper and that can be a problem for some older printers. Run a test to make sure the printer can handle the thicker stock. Check for smears too.

Once you know that the printer can handle the card stock, you can set things up in Word as follows:

  1. Click the Page Layout tab.
  2. In the Page Setup group, choose Index Card or Post Card from the Size dropdown. In Word 2003, choose Page Setup from the File menu, and click the Paper tab. Set the appropriate Paper Size dimensions.

By default, Word will print the cards in portrait. To change the orientation, choose Landscape from the Orientation dropdown in the Page Setup group. That's it! You didn't expect it to be quite so easy, did you?

If your stock doesn't match one of the pre-defined sizes, choose More Paper Sizes from the Size dropdown. Click the Paper tab and enter the card's dimensions. Word will do the rest.

Spdragoo was the first to mention the simple size options for handling index cards. Nystan50 and LocoLobo mentioned using label settings. You'll find this option on the Mailings tab in the Create group. As Lockhaca suggested, you could print labels and then adhere them to the cards if your printer can't handle the thicker card stock. I've not had to do that, but it sounds like a reasonable solution, if you're not working with too many cards. If you're working with a lot of cards, it might be time to invest in a new printer!

Thanks for another interesting challenge!


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.


I have to assume that this tip wasn't intended specifically for Word 2010. It did allow me to follow the lead to the page layout & size options, but after that I found that you have to enter in the size of the material you wish to print rather than make a simple selection. It works... but as has been said before, it would be helpful if you were to state which versions are being used in the presentation. thanks; jim


I print postcards I've created in Word to a color laser printer, but I can't get a color boarder to "bleed" all the way to edge of the card stock. It always prints with small white margins, and they're an uneven size as well. Doesn't look professional! Any thoughts?


You can print index cards using Word 2003, but you'll have to enter the dimensions yourself via the paper size settings.

C. Blaise Mitsutama
C. Blaise Mitsutama

The white margin is very likely a physical limitation of the printer itself. One solution is to buy postcard stock that is identified as "full bleed" or "print-to-the-edge." These postcards are generally perforated on a larger print page. You would overprint the card margins (i.e., printing would extend beyond the perforations). When you separate the postcards, the printing will be edge-to-edge. Your other solution is to purchase a printer that explicitly states that it can print a bleed. If neither of these solutions will work for you, an alternative is to make the white border a feature of the design.

Editor's Picks