15 Optional Microsoft Office Views You Could Be Using

Did you know Microsoft Office expands beyond the default Normal View, also known as Page Layout View or Print Layout View? Using these additional panes can make finding tools in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and other programs more manageable.

Additional functions are available in optional Views or Panes you may not be using yet. 

Note that most of the following apply to desktop versions rather than the more streamlined mobile or web versions of these programs.

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Create Links, Structure, and Style with the Navigation Pane in Microsoft Office

Navigation Task Pane
Navigation Task Pane in Word 13.

The Navigation Pane in Microsoft Office gives you a bird's-eye view of your document, making it easier to navigate through sections, headings, or pages in Word, PowerPoint, and Publisher.

To activate the Navigation Pane in Word, try the keyboard shortcut Ctrl - F, or select View then check mark Navigation Pane in the Show group.

This pane typically pops up on the left side of the screen, though you can dock it elsewhere by dragging and dropping. Most panes in this slide show allow you to do the same, unless they show automatically, such as the Navigation Pane in PowerPoint or Access.

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Make Desktop Publishing Simpler With the Selection Pane

Selection Pane
Selection Pane in PowerPoint 2013.

The Selection Pane in Microsoft Office programs lists objects such as images, charts, and tables in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

To show the Selection Pane, try selecting Home - Select (Editing group) - Selection Pane.

This pane typically pops up on the right of side of the screen and shows objects as you scroll page by page, or in PowerPoint, slide by slide. If you do not see objects listed but know they are contained in your document, scroll down until they populate the Selection Pane.

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Collaborate Faster Using the Reviewing Pane

Reviewing Pane
Reviewing Pane in Word 2013.

To show the Selection Pane, try Home - Select (Editing group) - Reviewing Pane.

This pane typically pops up on the left side of the screen and shows metrics for changes, edits, and comments.

This information can help you work with others on a single document. 

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Read Mode View

Read Mode
Read Mode in Microsoft 2013. ​ 

Reading panes can take away all the distractions of toolbars so that you can focus on the message before you. This full-screen reading experience can also feature colors that might feel better on our eyes.

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Take Control of Documents With Backstage View

Backstage View
Backstage View in Microsoft PowerPoint 2013.

Lesser-used tools expand in Backstage View found in many Microsoft Office programs. You likely already use this to Save or Save As, but take a look at other options that give you control when sharing documents, and more.

In Office 2013 and later, select File - Info.

This is where you find tools for finalizing your documents, such as Save, Print, Export, and more.

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Get High-Level Perspective on Documents With Outline View

Outline View
Outline View in Microsoft PowerPoint 2013.

Sometimes, it can be helpful to see a high-level view of your document's structure.

Microsoft Office documents are best organized through systems of Headings and Styles.

For a mapped view of how these have been applied to all your content, you can use Outline View in some Office programs.

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Check a Document's Online Readability Using Web Layout View

Web Layout
Web Layout in Microsoft Word 2013.

If you use Word to create web documents, you may want to create or edit the document in Web Layout View.

This can help you troubleshoot readability and more.

Select View - Web Layout View.

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Make Printing Spreadsheets Easier Using Page Break Preview

Page Break Preview
Page Break Preview in Microsoft Excel 2013.

You likely already know about different Print Settings when printing a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel, and how tricky it can get.

Did you know you can use Page Break Preview to help you plan printing and other document finalization by seeing where everything fits on multiple pages? 

You may find it advantageous to create or edit spreadsheets in this view.

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Increase Productivity Using Views in Microsoft Outlook: Folder, To-Do, and More

Views in Microsoft Outlook.

In Outlook, you may stick to your default views for working with email messages, tasks, and calendaring.

But you do have quite a few other viewing options such as Folder Pane, To-Do Pane, Message Preview, View Settings, and more.

You can also display Conversations and use the People Pane.

Find these options under View, a menu item you may not have noticed!

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Use Slide Show, Slide Sorter, and Notes View

Slide Sorter View
Slide Sorter View in Microsoft PowerPoint.

Microsoft PowerPoint offers some Views that specialize in creating slide shows, including Slide Show View, Slide Sorter View, and Notes View.

Slide Show View displays the slide on a full-screen to show you how it will look when played on a computer or presentation screen. Press F5 - Slide Show - From Beginning (or use the presentation screen icon in the lower right of the screen).

Slide Sorter View is beautiful because it shows small thumbnails of all your slides, allowing you to move or expand them. This is great for creating an overall cohesive design or just finding slides.

Notes View in Microsoft PowerPoint lets you see the presenter notes that accompany each slide.

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Take Notes While in Other Programs With Dock to Desktop for Microsoft OneNote

Dock to Desktop View
Dock to Desktop View in Microsoft OneNote.

The Dock to Desktop is for general convenience in OneNote, but also facilitates taking Linked Notes.

This pane can dock not only to the desktop but also over other Microsoft program windows, as shown here with a screen in Microsoft Word.

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Create Style and Order in Microsoft Office Programs Using Master Views

Slide Master View
Slide Master View in Microsoft PowerPoint 2013.

In many Office programs, a Master View allows you to create a core design that pages or slides will be based on.

This can alleviate duplication of design efforts, and keep things orderly and consistent.

In PowerPoint, for example, find this under the View tab. 

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Use Ruled Lines, Gridlines, and Alignment Guides to Polish Office Documents

Ruled Lines
Ruled Lines in Microsoft OneNote.

Microsoft Office documents typically feature a white screen, and this is great for many projects.

But in many programs, you can add ruled lines, gridlines, and alignment guides through checkmark options under View.

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Expand Microsoft Office Interfaces Using Multiple Window Views or Monitors

Side by Side Windows
Side by Side Windows in Microsoft Excel.

If you work in Office all day, you know how annoying it can get to try to size more than one document on your screen so that you can compare or work between them.

Multiple Window Views and Using Multiple Monitors can expand the real estate of your computer screen.

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Use Advanced Display Options in Microsoft Office to Customize Your Experience

Advanced Display Options
Advanced Display Options in Microsoft Office.

Also, Advanced Display Options are available under the Advanced Options area of different Microsoft Office programs.

Select File - Options - Advanced - Display. You can customize your experience further with these settings, so take a look!