Microsoft Word Borders- arrrrgggh!

While Bill Gates will never send me money for forwarding an email, I still think he has it in for me.

Does anyone know why when I put a border (set to edge of paper) on a Word document, and it appears fine on the screen, the bottom line of the border disappears in print preview and in the actual printing?

I’ve tried adjusting margins, but that doesn’t seem to have any effect. Top and sides are just fine.

I’ve got to get a program for a charity auction done tonight and this is slowing me WAY down.


I was working with MS Publisher the other day, trying to print a brochure, and something similar happened to me.

What MSPub told me to do (in help) was to cover the entire piece of paper (well the paper represented on the screen) with a text box and fill it with gray. Then print it. When it’s printed, there will be white around the gray box (even tho I made the box to the edge of the paper) and that is the PRINTER’s non-printable area.

Then it suggested measuring these white areas with a ruler and re-adjusting my guidelines in the project to reflect these non-printable areas (which made for a pretty crappy layout). From what I could tell, the unprintable areas were only on the left and bottom parts of my document.

MSPub pretty much said that’s how printers work and it’s not MS’s fault. I believe them, but I haven’t tried this with any other program (like Photoshop).

This isn’t going to solve your problem, rundogrun, :frowning: but it clears up who to blame. Try doing the method MSPub suggests and finding the edge of your printable area, and then placing the borders there.

As for how to eliminate this problem - I don’t know, maybe a laser or more expensive printer? Hopefully someone here can shed some light on this. My WAG is that cheaper (or affordable, like HP) printers aren’t made to be 100% accurate and they are saving themselves from paper slips that might make the edge of page 2 print on the edge of page 3.

Yep…that’s it…it’s the printable area.

Rather than try to do it from the edge of the paper, I’m doing it now around the text. It’s funky, but workable. I’ll figure out the margins some other day.


If you want to print a box exactly at the edges of a piece of paper, it has to be aligned perfectly. Since this is hard or even impossible to achieve, printers have a printable area to avoid this problem.

It’s not a matter of whom to blame, but a matter of reality.

rundogrun isn’t trying to print borders at the extreme edges of the page, but just, say, a half-inch from the edges. Apparently, some printers can’t print even remotely close to the bottom, but it’s still inexecusable that the software can’t deal with it. Microsoft at least acknowledges this problem, and provides some workarounds. The mystery, however, is why they haven’t simply fixed it. After all, Word should know what your default printer is. If it’s one of the HP DeskJet models that can’t print close to the bottom edge, it should simply put the bottom border as close as it can.

It would even be an improvement if they let you set the distance to the edge of the page to a value higher than 31 points (it defaults to 24 points, and 31 is the max). Inserting a text box that covers the entire page (still within the normal margins, of course), then telling it to put a paragraph border around it, works just fine.

It’s a bug, and it’s been in Word since Word 97. I can’t believe they haven’t fixed this yet.

I’m almost embarressed to ask, but can anyone tell me where the fancy borders are in Word? I searched in “help” under every name I could think of, to no avail. All I can find are the un-fancy ones: a single line, a double line, a dotted line, a dashed line, etc. I’m looking for the arty, decorative borders.

Fancy borders? Are you sure?

Okay, if you choose the “custom border,” you can have it a bit fancier than the usual fare, but not much.

If you want to do that really cool stuff, use PrintShop or something similar.

Yes, you can get fancy borders in Word 2000 (don’t know about other versions), but only for an entire page, not for a paragraph.

Under Borders and Shading, select Page Borders, and use the Art listbox to select your choice. (As far as I know, there’s no way to add other borders there - if you want something that’s not listed, you’ll have to insert it using a page-sized textbox behind the body text.)

Actually, I think it depends on how the driver is written by the printer manufacturer. I use Word 2000 at at work, and use a Color LaserJet 4500. If I go into Page Setup under File, and set my margins to outside of the printable area, I get a pop-up that says “One or more margins are outside the printable area of the page” and asks me if I want to fix them so it’s within the printable area of the page, or ignore (I use ignore if I’m going to be sending it to an actual print house for offset printing :slight_smile: ). When I select FIX, Word automatically resets the margins so they’re within the printable area of the page.
However, on my cheapo inkjet at home, Word doesn’t say anything when I fiddle with the margins.

I think there has to be some hook written into the driver for the applications to be able to read from the printer what the printable area is. The application then has to be written to look for and access that hook.


Yep, it’s an HP that can’t print near the bottom. I set them all to the text boxes, and it worked out ok.

Thanks again for all the input.