Word problem

Blue Pearmain

I've developed a peculiar and annoying problem with (surprise) Microsoft Word: every time I open a new document, it sets the margins at 14". I've tried every fix I can think of, including dumping every preference I can find, with no success. This began with Word 2004; I just upgraded to 2008 partly in hope of fixing it but the problem persists. I've developed a workaround, but it's a pain. Any help would be much appreciated.


Blue Pearmain,

My name is Jeremy and I will be helping you today. First off, I suggest that you use a program such as AppCleaner (available at http://www.freemacsoft.net/AppCleaner/. A quick Google search will come up with other software, such as AppZapper) to completely delete the entire MS office suite from your system. In addition, I recommend utilizing Spotlight to search for any remaining leftovers in the case that they are not deleted. After you do this, restart your computer. Once back to your desktop, try to reinstall the MS suite you have. I believe that you are having a problem with a preference hidden within the office suite files. This should clear out all files from your first and installation. However, be sure to back up any documents you have saved on your hard drive to a location that cannot be deleted by the AppCleaner, such as a flash drive. I hope this works for you.

I guess my best advice would be to get the iWork suite. It works really well, and to tell you the truth, it's very similar to MS office.


Tech Support Agent


U.S.D.A. Prime
Completely removing Office 2008 and reinstalling it is quite a drastic move to be the first thing on the troubleshooting list. I would highly recommend not going through the pain of uninstalling and reinstalling the entire Office suite in order to solve a small margin problem.

It's likely that the default Word template somehow got the margins set at 14", and therefore all new documents inherit this margin setting.

First, let's try opening and adjusting the default template for Word documents:

- In the Finder, navigate to: /Users/yourusername/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates/My Templates
- Double-click "Normal.dotm"
- Adjust margins to your liking
- Save and close the "Normal.dotm" document

You can also just delete the "Normal.dotm" file, and Word will create a new, default one the next time you launch it with all of Word's default margins and settings (I recommend deleting the file while Word is not open).

If you require Word to communicate/collaborate Word documents with Windows-based computers that are running the Microsoft Office system, I would recommend staying away from the iWork suite, as it is not as compatible with Windows-based Office documents as Office 2008 is, and in addition, it is not nearly as powerful as Word is. While iWork is a great package, it hardly stands on its own as a fully-featured Microsoft Office replacement.