the cause for Word's 'margin' error

Subject: the cause for Word's 'margin' error
From: John Lilly <jlilly -at- IDCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 09:59:33 -0600

Countless times I (and other writers) have seen the following error when
printing from Word:
"The margins of section (x) are set outside the printable area of the
Do you want to continue? (YES) (NO)".

The error message reappears for each section of the document every time
you print, even though the margin settings are within the limits of the

One day I cracked and decided to spend an hour poking around the page
setup settings to determine the cause of the error. It turns out that if
you have the document page size set to a "custom" size AND you have
selected different odd/even headers and footers, you will almost
invariably see this margin error, even on blank one page documents. (I
say "almost" because I didn't test it on every possible printer. The
error appeared for every printer I tested and every time I did a

If you change the page size to a known size (such as "letter" or
"legal"), the error goes away. If you turn off odd/even headers and
footers, the error goes away. Unfortunately, the standard small book
size, 7.5 x 9.25 inches, is a "custom" size, and different odd/even
footers are often useful.

This issue is not documented in the Microsoft Knowledge Base articles.
Microsoft Support did confirm (bless their hearts) that it was a
reproducible bug in both Word 97 and Word 2000. The workarounds are:
not to use odd/even headers and footers with a custom page size, or
fake a custom size by using a known page size with larger margins.

I hope this helps.
-John Lilly

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