WD: How to Set Up Page with Set Number of Characters Per Line

Article translations Article translations
Article ID: 144501 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q144501
Expand all | Collapse all

On This Page


When you type a Word document, you may want to have a certain number of characters on each line of text. If the characters are formatted in a monospace font, it is possible to calculate the horizontal printable space between the margins of the document required to produce a desired number of characters per line in the document.


The following formula can be used to calculate the necessary space between margins to produce a certain number of characters (also referred to as columns) per line.
   Desired Characters Per Line (columns)
   -------------------------------------         =  Required Print Area
   Font Size (expressed in characters per inch)           in Inches
Monospace fonts such as the TrueType Courier New are comprised of characters with equal widths. This attribute allows the creation of documents with specific numbers of characters per line. Proportional fonts contain characters of varying widths that do not facilitate the creation of certain numbers of characters per line.

NOTE: Characters per line in documents is sometimes referred to as "Columns per line."

The following table lists some commonly used font sizes.
   Characters   Font size
   per inch
   5            24
   7.5          16
   10           12
   12           10

An Example of How to Apply the Formula

If you need to create a document with 120 characters per line using a 12- character-per-inch font, use the following formula:
          120 characters
   --------------------------          = 10 inches
    12 characters per inch (10 points)
The printable area required for this example is 10 inches. To obtain a 10-inch printable area on a standard 8.5-by-11-inch page, use the following parameters.
   Font:         Use a monospace font (such as Courier)
   Orientation:  Landscape
   Left margin:  .5 inch
   Right margin: .5 inch


Article ID: 144501 - Last Review: August 17, 2005 - Revision: 1.1
  • Microsoft Word 6.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Word 6.0a
  • Microsoft Word 6.0c
  • Microsoft Word 95 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Word 95a
kbfont kbhowto KB144501
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

Give Feedback


Contact us for more help

Contact us for more help
Connect with Answer Desk for expert help.
Get more support from smallbusiness.support.microsoft.com