How to Turn a Microsoft Word Task Pane On and Off

Get the task pane to show up when you want it

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Multiple task panes are available in Microsoft Word. Most only appear when needed for a specific tool or feature, others are available to turn on and off as needed. Task panes, such as the Navigation pane, the Reviewing pane, the Selection pane, and the Thesaurus Pane might not be straightforward to find when you need them or turn off when you don't. Learn how to turn on or off a task pane in Word.

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

How to Enable and Disable the Navigation Task Pane in Word

The Navigation pane simplifies moving through a Word document without scrolling. Open and close it as needed.

  1. Open the Word document in which you want to open the Navigation pane.

  2. Select the View tab.

    Word with the View pane highlighted
  3. In the Show group, select the Navigation Pane check box. The Navigation task pane opens to the left of the document.

    To use a keyboard shortcut to open the Navigation pane, press Ctrl+F.

    Word with the Navigation Pane box highlighted
  4. Use the Navigation pane to search the document, browse headings, browse pages, rearrange content, and more.

  5. To change the appearance or location of the Navigation pane, select the Task Pane Options drop-down arrow and choose Size or Move.

    Word's Navigation Pane with the viewing options highlighted
  6. To close the Navigation pane, select the Task Pane Options drop-down arrow and choose Close. Or, select the X in the upper-right corner of the pane.

    Navigation Pane in Word with the close options highlighted

How to Enable and Disable the Reviewing Task Pane in Word

If you track changes made to a document, the Reviewing pane shows any revisions made.

  1. Open the Word document in which you want to open the Reviewing pane.

  2. Select the Review tab.

    Word with the Review tab highlighted
  3. In the Tracking group, select Reviewing Pane. The Reviewing pane opens to the left of the document, by default.

    Select the Reviewing Pane drop-down arrow and choose Reviewing Pane Horizontal to open the Reviewing pane below the document.

    Microsoft Word with the Reviewing Pane option highlighted
  4. To change the appearance or location of the Reviewing pane, select the Task Pane Options drop-down arrow and choose Size or Move.

    Revisions Pane in Microsoft Word with the option arrow highlighted
  5. To close the Reviewing pane, select the Task Pane Options drop-down arrow and choose Close. Or, select the X in the upper-right corner of the pane.

    Revisions Pane in Microsoft Word with the close button highlighted

How to Enable and Disable the Selection Task Pane in Word

The Selection pane allows you to find and edit objects in a Word document.

  1. Open the Word document in which you want to open the Selection pane.

  2. Select the Layout or Page Layout tab.

    Microsoft Word with the Layout tab highlighted
  3. In the Arrange group, choose Selection Pane. The task pane opens to the right of the document.

    Microsoft Word with the Selection Pane button highlighted
  4. To change the appearance or location of the Selection pane, select the Task Pane Options drop-down arrow and choose Size or Move.

    Selection Pane in Word with the options menu highlighted
  5. To close the Selection pane, select the Task Pane Options drop-down arrow and choose Close. Or, select the X in the upper-right corner of the pane.

    Selection Pane in Word with the close buttons highlighted

How to Enable and Disable the Thesaurus Task Pane in Word

The Thesaurus Pane makes it easy to find alternative words to use in documents.

  1. Open the Word document in which you want to open the Thesaurus pane.

  2. Select the Review tab.

    Word with the Review tab highlighted
  3. In the Proofing group, select Thesaurus. The Thesaurus pane opens to the right of the document.

    To open the Thesaurus pane with a keyboard shortcut, press Shift+F7.

    Word with the Thesaurus button highlighted
  4. To change the appearance or location of the Thesaurus pane, select the Task Pane Options drop-down arrow and choose Size or Move.

    Microsoft Word with the options arrow in the Thesaurus pane highlighted
  5. To close the Thesaurus pane, select the Task Pane Options drop-down arrow and choose Close. Or, select the X in the upper-right corner of the pane.

    Word's Thesaurus task pane with the close button highlighted