How to Change to Landscape Orientation in Google Docs

The orientation of a document in Google Docs refers to the location of the long edge of the page, and is just one of the many formatting choices you can modify in the application. If the long edge of the page is on the left or right side of the document, then that is in the Portrait orientation. Conversely, if the long edge is on the top or bottom of the page, then that is Landscape orientation.

Google Docs, along with most other word processing applications, uses the Portrait orientation by default. However, if you are working on a project or a document where the Landscape orientation is more beneficial, then you are able to change that setting. Our guide below will help you to switch from portrait orientation, or vice versa, in your Google Docs document.

How to Switch Page Orientation in Google Docs

The steps in this article are going to show you where to find the setting that controls the orientation of your document. You can choose between portrait and landscape. By default, Google Docs files are create in portrait orientation. If you switch orientation for a document in the middle of editing it, some of your document elements may be affected. It’s always important to check your document after you change the orientation to ensure that nothing too bad has happened.

Step 1: Open your Google Drive at https://drive.google.com/drive/my-drive and double-click on the Google Docs file for which you wish to change the orientation.

Step 2: Click the File tab at the top of the window.

open the google docs file menu

Step 3: Click the Page setup option at the bottom of this menu.

switch page orientation google docs

Step 4: Click the Landscape option under Orientation, then click the OK button.

how to change to landscape orientation in google docs

The document should update immediately to be in the new orientation.

A comparison of a portrait versus a landscape document is shown below.

google docs portrait versus landscape

Note that switching an existing document from portrait to landscape can move around some of your document elements, potentially having a negative effect on the appearance of your content. Make sure to check things like image positioning, for example, after you have changed page orientation.

While you’re on this Page Setup menu, you will notice that there are a lot of other important settings, including:

  • Paper size
  • Page color
  • Margins

The paper sizes available in Google Docs include:

  • Letter (8.5″ x 11″)
  • Tabloid (11″ x 17″)
  • Legal (8.5″ x 14″)
  • Statement (5.5″ x 8.5″)
  • Executive (7.25″ x 10.5″)
  • Folio (8.5″ x 13″)
  • A3 (11.69″ x 16.54″)
  • A4 (8.27″ x 11.69″)
  • A5 (5.83″ x 8.27″)
  • B4 (9.84″ x 13.90″)
  • B5 (6.93″ x 9.84″)

Additionally, you can also choose to set any changes that you make to these settings as the default option as well.

How to Make Documents Landscape By Default in Google Docs

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Choose Page Setup.
  3. Check the Landscape option.
  4. Click the Set as default button.
  5. Click OK.

Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word Orientation Drawback

Perhaps the biggest difference you will find in dealing with landscape in Google Docs and Microsoft Word is the ability for Word to let your document have pages with different orientations. Unfortunately Google Docs requires the entire document to have the same orientation.

If you want to have one page with landscape orientation in Microsoft Word, you can do so with the following steps. We are going to be creating two “Next Page” section breaks, one before the page we want to switch to landscape, and one after it.

  1. Open your document in Microsoft Word.
  2. Click the Show/Hide button in the Paragraph section of the ribbon. While not technically necessary, this lets us see the breaks we are creating.
  3. Go to the end of the page right before the one you wish to make landscape and click after the last letter.
  4. Click the Layout tab at the top of the window.
  5. Click the Breaks button, then click Next Page under Section Breaks.
  6. Go to the beginning of the page after the one that you wish to make landscape and click your mouse before the first letter.
  7. Click the Layout tab at the top of the window again.
  8. Click the Breaks button, then click Next Page under Section Breaks to add another break.
  9. Click anywhere on the page between the two section breaks.
  10. Click the Layout tab at the top of the window.
  11. Click the Orientation button, then select the Landscape option.

Do you have a table in your document, but it doesn’t look quite right? Learn how to change the vertical alignment in Google Docs table cells to see if the positioning of the data in your table cells is negatively impacting the appearance of the table.

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