Software

Standardize Word's view

When you open a new Word document, do you immediately switch to a non-default view? If you do, stop! Make Word open new documents in the view you prefer.

Most of us prefer one view to another when working with a Word document. You probably use most of the views, but you end up working in one more than the others. Fortunately, you can configure Word to open documents in a specific view, to save the time of switching when creating a new document.

First, tell Windows to display hidden file extensions, as follows:

  1. In Windows Explorer, choose Folder Options from Tools.
  2. Click the View tab.
  3. Uncheck the Hide Extensions For Known File Types option.
  4. Check the Apply To All Folders option.

Now, you need to find and alter the Word template -- Normal.dot. Use Windows Search to find it and note its path. Then, to ensure that each Word document opens to the view you want, do the following:

  1. Launch Word and open Normal.dot.
  2. Select the view you prefer and save Normal.dot.
  3. Close Word.

Now, every time you open Word to create a new file, Word will display the view you prefer -- the one you chose in step 2 above. This change won't affect existing files saved with another view. In existing files, you must save your view of choice for Word to apply it the next time you open that file.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

6 comments
jphillips
jphillips

When I open existing documents, they automatically open with the reading layout. I can't stand the reading layout. How do I stop the madness?

kalbfleisch.sonja
kalbfleisch.sonja

This drives me crazy as well. Thank you for your question, it prompted me to find the solution which has worked for me using Word 2003: Prevent reading layout view from opening automatically when you receive a Word document in e-mail: On the Tools menu, click Options, click the General tab, and then clear the Allow starting in Reading Layout check box

jphillips
jphillips

Since the first article was missing some key information, even when you read the whole thing, a follow up would be a good idea. Thanks for the help!

ssharkins
ssharkins

Well, after a quick test I found that Print and Normal layout do stay with the saved document, but Readyout and Outline don't -- which I find rather odd. Let me see what I can learn about this. I never use those two layouts and it just never occured to me that they wouldn't be "savable" like Print and Normal.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

From the last paragraph: [i]This change won?t affect existing files saved with another view. In existing files, you must save your view of choice for Word to apply it the next time you open that file.[/i]