How to Turn a Microsoft Word 2016 Task Pane On and Off

Word 2013 - Navigation Task Pane
(c) Cindy Grigg

If you don't use a Word task pane and would like to reclaim the screen space for the document area, turn it off by clicking the X in the top right corner of the pane.

Turning a Task Pane Back On

If you later decide to turn a specific task pane back on:

  • Click the View menu and select Navigation Pane
  • Click the Review menu and select one of the two Reviewing Pane display options
  • Click the Layout menu and click Selection Pane

Different Panes

Microsoft Word supports several different panes that slide in from either the right or the left of the document area. The Navigation pane, for example, appears on the left. It offers a search feature as well as an outline of the active document's headings, if heading styles are used. The Selection pane, by contrast, appears on the right, listing all of the objects in the active document.

The Reviewing pane appears as needed when a document is edited in Track Changes mode. Turn it back on manually through the Review menu.

Word offers two additional and less-often used panes, the XML Mapping Pane and the Alt Text Pane. The former provides a semantic map of the document in Extensible Markup Language. The other offers a focused area to describe non-text objects for the benefit of visually impaired readers. Type Pane in the "Tell me what you want to do" help box on the menu bar to surface those two panes.