Google Docs – Setting up the page

Apart from changing the text to the way you want it, you will often want to set up the page differently from the default. You can change the page size, page orientation, how the text fits on the page, etc. Here we’ll look at the following:

  • Page setup
    • Orientation
      • Portrait
      • Landscape
    • Paper size
    • Paper colour
    • Margins
  • Alignment (left, centre, right, justify)
  • Page break
  • Ruler

Page set up

All the settings in this section are accessed by going to the “File” menu then “Page setup”.

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This opens the Page setup box. Here you can change the paper orientation, paper size, page colour, and margins.

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Changing the page orientation

By default the page is in portrait mode, i.e. the side top to bottom is longer than from side to side. To change it to landscape, just click on the radio button next to Landscape, and press “OK”.

Before

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Changing the size of the page

By default the page size is A4. You can change this to a range of presets. Let’s change it to the smaller A5 size. Click the size and then press “OK”.

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Changing the colour of the paper

To change the paper colour, click the box under paper colour and select the colour from the colour palette.

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Changing the page margins

In the above screenshot, there is a big space all around the text. Normally this is OK, but sometimes we may want to either reduce or increase the amount of space, or what are called margins. To do so, in Page Setup type in the margins you want (in cm). Here I’ve decided to reduce the margins to only half a centimetre all away around the text.

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As you can see the text is much nearer to the edge of the page than before. You don’t have to change all four margins, for example, you may just want to change the width of the text, in which case you would change the Left and Right figures.


Changing the alignment of the text

The are 4 ways you can align your text on the page, to the left, in the centre, to the right, or justified to both sides.

Left

To align it to the left, select the text and click on the Left align icon on the toolbar.

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Centre

To align it in the centre, select the text and click on the Centre icon on the toolbar.

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Right

To align it to the right, select the text and click on the Right align icon on the toolbar.

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Justify

To align it to both sides (justified), select the text and click on the Justify icon on the toolbar.

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Manually adding a page break

If you keep writing on a page eventually, you’ll fill the page and automatically it will create another page, where you can keep on writing. Sometimes you want to set where that end of the page happens, in other words, where that page breaks. To do this, go to the place on the page you want the break to be (the new page to start), go to the “Insert” menu and select “Page Break”. This will start a new page for you.

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You’ll see a break in between the pages:

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Ruler

At the top of the page is the ruler. This shows you the width of the page and where the text starts and stops.

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The first part in grey shows you how many centimetres the left indent is (2 to 0 cm), which from the Page Setup margin we know is 2cm. At the 0 mark we can see two symbols, a triangle which is the Left indent and the rectangle, which is the first line indent.

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First & left indent: 0cm

The Left indent, is where the left-hand side of the text will start. Here let’s move the left indent (triangle) to 1cm. The first line indent (rectangle) moves with it. Notice that this moved the left-hand side of the paragraph, but didn’t move the bullet points below. This is because the bullet points have their own indents, which can also be moved, but you need to select them to move them.

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First line indent & Left indent: 1cm

We can move the indents separately. Let’s move the first line indent to 1cm:

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First line indent: 1cm; Left indent 0cm

On the other side, we can see another triangle, this is the Right indent. Here we can see the text finishes at 17cm, which is 2cm from the edge which is 19cm.

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We can also move that indent to where we want.

Let’s line up the bullet points with the left-hand side of the text.  First, we select the bulleted text. We can see the current indents on the ruler, i.e. the first-line indent is on about 0.6cm (bullets), and the left indent is on about 1.25cm (text). Move the triangle slightly to the left, so that the bullets line up with the text above.

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Baz Roberts (Flipboard / Twitter / Google+)


4 thoughts on “Google Docs – Setting up the page

  1. In Word, I can center text in the middle of the page. Is there a way to do the same thing in Google Docs?

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