Change How Word Looks on Screen to Be More Productive

How do you change views in Word documents

Person using laptop.

Mimi Thian / Unsplash

 Microsoft Word provides several ways to view a document you’re working on. Each is suitable for different aspects of working with the document, and some are better suited for multi-page documents than single pages. If you've always worked in the default view, you may find other views that make you more productive.

Instructions in this article apply to Word for Office 365, Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, and Word 2010.

Changing Layouts

Word documents open in the Print Layout by default. You can select an alternative layout at any time.

  1. Select the View tab on the ribbon.

    Word with the View menu highlighted
  2. Select one of the other layouts available in the Views group on the left side of the ribbon to change the layout.

    Views section of the View ribbon in Word

Changing Layouts With the Icons Under the Document

Another way to change layouts on the fly is to use the buttons at the bottom of the Word document window. The current layout icon is highlighted. To switch to a different layout, select the corresponding icon.

Layout options under the document in Word

Word Layout Options

Current versions of Word provide the following layout options:

  • Print Layout is the default layout and the one you see most often.
  • Web Layout is suitable if you are designing a web page in Word. Web Layout view shows how your document will look like a web page.
Screenshot of Web Layout in Word
  • Outline generates an outline version of the contents of the document. You can control the number of levels that are shown and whether the text is formatted. Outline view helps you organize and navigate through a lengthy document.
  • Draft view displays only basic text without any formatting or graphics. It is Word's equivalent of a plain text editor.
Screenshot of Draft view in Word
  • Read Mode hides the writing tools and menus, leaving leave more room for the document pages.
  • Focus Mode is a simplified view of the document without any distractions available in Office 365. If you need the ribbon, mouse to the top of the screen and the ribbon will drop down.

Other Ways to Change How Word Displays

Also in the View tab are other ways to control how a Word document looks on screen. 

  • Zoom. The Zoom tool opens a dialog box you can use to specify the percentage of zoom you want. You can pick from Word-supplied choices or enter any percentage you like.
  • Zoom to 100% instantly returns the document to 100 percent size.
Zoom section of the View menu in Word
  • You can toggle between seeing One Page or Multiple Pages.
  • The Page Width option expands the width of the working document to the screen size, usually displaying only the top part of the document.
Page View options in the Zoom section of Word
  • Options to display the Ruler or Gridlines on the current document are also on the View tab.
  • The Navigation Pane adds a column to the left of the document that holds thumbnails for every page. It is useful for navigating through documents that have more than one page.
  • The Split option allows you to display parts of two pages at the same time, which is useful when you want to copy text or graphics from one page and paste to another.
Screenshot of Navigation Pane on Pages tab