Eco-Tip: Narrow Your Word Document Margins

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Hands with tattooed sleeves type on a laptop with coffee and plants.

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Tamara Krinsky has a remarkably simple idea to conserve paper: Set your word document's margin settings as narrow as possible before you send it to the printer.

Krinsky was an aspiring (read: starving) actress/writer, who had to print sheaves of scripts and articles, when the brainwave hit her. Narrower margin settings mean you can squeeze in more text per page, which in turn reduces the number of sheets of paper you'll need. For a person of very limited means, Krinsky says, these savings matter. "When a single paycheck stands between making rent at the end of the month and getting an eviction notice," she writes on her Web site, "you do whatever it takes!"

And now she wants Microsoft, the creator of the most popular word-processing software, like, ever, to do whatever it takes for the planet."The default margins for Microsoft Word are set at 1.25" on each side," Krinsky says. "According to the good people on the Microsoft Help line, there is no technical reason for this. It's merely a convention we have all gotten used to. Documents will print just as easily if you change the margins to 0.75" on each side."

We could all shift our margins ourselves, but Krinsky understands the basic human condition: We may not always do what is right, but we'll do whatever is easy.

She's slapped together a petition to Microsoft to officially set Word's default margins to 0.75", "so people wouldn't have to think about it." Are you feeling this, Bill Gates? :: Change the Margins