Change How Word Looks on Screen to Be More Productive

How do you change views in Word documents?

Microsoft Word provides several ways to view a document you’re working on. Each is suitable for different aspects of working with a 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 Microsoft 365, Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, and Word 2010.

Change Layouts

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

  1. Go to the Ribbon and select the View tab.

    Word with the View menu highlighted
  2. In the Views group, select one of the other available layouts available to change the layout.

    Views section of the View ribbon in Word

Change 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 the document will look as 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. Use Outline view to 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 and is available in Microsoft 365. If you need the ribbon, move the 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 opens a dialog box you can use to specify the percentage of zoom you want. Choose from Word-supplied choices or enter any percentage you like.
  • Zoom to 100% instantly returns the document to 100% size.
Zoom section of the View menu in Word
  • One Page or Multiple Pages toggles the view so that either one page of the document displays on the screen or thumbnails of several pages display on the screen.
Page View options in the Zoom section of Word
  • Page Width expands the width of the working document to the screen size, usually displaying only the top part of the document.
  • Ruler and Gridlines make it easier to measure distance and objects in a document and line up objects on the page.
  • 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.
Screenshot of Navigation Pane on Pages tab
  • Split displays 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.
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