Video: Use landscape and portrait orientation

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Choose either landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical) orientation for all, or part, of your document.

Change the orientation of your entire document

  1. Click PAGE LAYOUT > Orientation.

  2. Click Portrait, or Landscape.

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When you are deciding how to frame a picture, you use a vertical or portrait orientation for things like portraits and other vertically-oriented subjects.

And you use a horizontal or landscape orientation for horizontal subjects, like a landscape.

It is the same with Word. By default, a document uses portrait orientation, because most documents are primarily text, and text works well in this vertical format.

This is what it looks like when you print a portrait page.

But if your document contains something that is essentially horizontal, like tables with a lot of columns, you can change the orientation to landscape.

Go to the PAGE LAYOUT tab, click Orientation, and Landscape. And the content in the document turns 90 degrees.

Now with more horizontal space, you can adjust the column widths to give your table more breathing room.

This is what it looks like when you print a landscape page.

So as you work on a document, you can switch between the two orientations any time you want to see which one looks best with your content.

And when you do, Word automatically moves everything to fit on the pages.

So you can think of page orientation as a way to change the frame or container where your document sits in.

But there are other things that determine your document’s frame, too. Like Margins.

On the PAGE LAYOUT tab, let’s click Margins and choose Wide to give the document a nice sparse look with 2-inch side margins.

Now, watch what happens when we click Orientation and Landscape to switch to landscape.

The 2-inch side margins move 90 degrees to the top and bottom.

You can change to Wide again to move the 2-inch margins back to the side, but the document doesn’t look same in landscape.

So you need to consider Margins as well as Orientation when you are deciding on a frame for your document.

Also, the size of the paper is a factor. For example, if you are on the PAGE LAYOUT tab, click Size, and change to Legal size paper. You get a really wide frame, which works great with a wide table, but it is too wide for text.

Finally, you need to consider how all the different types of elements work together.

After spending a lot of time carefully, laying out your document in portrait orientation, switching to landscape could turn everything to scrambled eggs.

So, when you consider all the factors that go into choosing a frame for your document, it makes sense to choose an orientation before you start.

But if you want to change later, you can. Just be prepared to spend some time on reworking the layout.

However, there is another way. You can create a document with a mix of portrait and landscape pages.

To learn more about that, see the next video in this course, Use landscape and portrait in the same document.

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