How to Use Legal Paper by Default in Word 2010: A Step-by-Step Guide

Changing the default paper size in Word 2010 to legal size is a straightforward task. To do so, go to “Page Layout,” click on “Size,” and select “Legal” from the dropdown menu. Then, click on “Set As Default.” Confirm the change, and all new documents will now use legal paper size by default.

After completing this action, any new document you create in Word 2010 will automatically be set to the legal paper size. This means you won’t have to manually adjust the paper size every time you start a new document.


When it comes to document creation, one size does not fit all. Different documents require different paper sizes, and for those in the legal, government, or real estate fields, legal-sized paper is the standard. But if you’re constantly finding yourself adjusting the paper size in Microsoft Word 2010 every time you create a new document, you might be wondering if there’s a way to make legal paper the default size. Good news – there is!

Setting legal paper as the default size in Word 2010 can save you time and ensure uniformity across your documents. It’s especially useful if you find that you’re predominantly working with legal documents. In this article, we’ll guide you through the simple steps to change the default paper size to legal in Word 2010, so you can get back to what really matters – the content of your documents.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Use Legal Paper by Default in Word 2010

The following steps will guide you through setting legal paper as the default size in Word 2010.

Step 1: Open the Page Layout Tab

Firstly, click on the “Page Layout” tab in the ribbon at the top of Word.

The “Page Layout” tab is where you’ll find all the settings that control the appearance of your entire document, including margins, orientation, and, of course, paper size.

Step 2: Click on Size

Next, click on the “Size” button within the “Page Setup” group.

This will bring up a dropdown menu that lists all the paper sizes available. You’ll see options ranging from letter size to A4, and, of course, legal.

Step 3: Select Legal

From the dropdown menu, select “Legal.”

Once you click on “Legal,” the document you’re working on will change to that paper size so you can see what the new layout will look like.

Step 4: Set As Default

After selecting legal size, click on “Set As Default” at the bottom of the page size dropdown menu.

A pop-up window will appear asking if you want to set this paper size as the default for all documents using the “Normal” template. This is the template Word uses for all new documents unless you specify otherwise.

Step 5: Confirm the Change

Finally, confirm that you want to make the change by clicking “Yes.”

Once you confirm, Word will update the default paper size for all new documents. If you ever need to revert back to letter size or another size, you can follow these same steps.


Time-savingSetting legal paper as default saves time as you don’t need to change it manually for every new document.
UniformityIt ensures all your documents have a consistent paper size, which is important for professional presentation.
ConvenienceIf you frequently work with legal-sized documents, having it set as the default is highly convenient.


Limited FlexibilitySetting legal size as default means you’ll have to manually change it for documents that require a different size.
Template SpecificThis setting only applies to the “Normal” template, so documents using other templates will not be affected.
Inadvertent Formatting IssuesIf you share documents with others who don’t use legal size by default, it may cause formatting issues on their end.

Additional Information

While setting the default paper size to legal in Word 2010 can be a game-changer for some, it’s important to keep a few other things in mind. Always double-check that your printer settings are also configured to print on legal paper to avoid any last-minute surprises. Additionally, consider whether other people you work with also use legal size by default to prevent any formatting mishaps when sharing documents.

Remember that changing the default paper size to legal only applies to new documents you create going forward. Any existing documents you open will still retain their original paper size settings unless you change them manually. It’s also worth noting that while we’ve focused on Word 2010, the steps to change the default paper size in other versions of Word are quite similar.


  1. Open the “Page Layout” tab
  2. Click on “Size”
  3. Select “Legal”
  4. Click on “Set As Default”
  5. Confirm the change

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I need to use a different paper size after setting legal as the default?

You can always manually change the paper size for individual documents through the “Page Layout” tab.

Will setting legal size as default affect existing documents?

No, it will only apply to new documents created after the change is made.

Can I set other custom sizes as default?

Yes, you can set any size available in the “Size” dropdown menu as default using the same steps.

Will this default setting apply to other templates in Word 2010?

The default setting will apply only to the “Normal” template used for new documents unless specified otherwise.

If I upgrade from Word 2010, will my default settings carry over?

Typically, settings like default paper size will not carry over when upgrading to a new version of Word, and you’ll need to set them again.


Setting legal paper as the default size in Word 2010 can streamline your document creation process, especially if you regularly work with legal documents. It’s a simple yet effective way to ensure uniformity and save time. Just remember to consider the potential cons, like the need to switch sizes for different documents and potential formatting issues when sharing with others.

With legal paper set as your default, you can focus more on creating content that matters and less on adjusting settings. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be a Word 2010 pro in no time!

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