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 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, Word 2010, and Word for Office 365.

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.

    Screenshot of View tab in Word
  3. Select the Navigation pane checkbox in the Show group. The Navigation task pane will open to the left of the document.

    Pressing Ctrl+F will open the Navigation pane, as well.

  4. Use the Navigation pane to search the document, browse headings, browse pages, rearrange content, and more.

  5. Change the appearance or location of the Navigation pane by selecting the Task Pane Options arrow and choosing Move or Size.

    Screenshot of Task Pane Options drop-down
  6. Choose Close in the Task Pane Options drop-down list to close the Navigation pane or simply select the X in the upper-right corner of the pane to close it.

How to Enable and Disable the Reviewing Task Pane in Word

If you are tracking 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.

    Screenshot of Review tab
  3. Select Reviewing Pane in the Tracking group. The Reviewing pane will open to the left of the document, by default.

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

  4. Change the appearance or location of the Reviewing pane by selecting the Task Pane Options arrow and choosing Move or Size.

    Screenshot of Revisions Pane
  5. Choose Close in the Task Pane Options drop-down list to close the Reviewing pane or simply select the X in the upper-right corner of the pane to close it.

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.

    Screenshot of the Layout tab in Word
  3. Choose Selection Pane in the Arrange group. The task pane will open to the right of the document.

  4. Change the appearance or location of the Selection pane by selecting the Task Pane Options arrow and choosing Move or Size.

    Screenshot of Task Pane Options in Selection pane
  5. Choose Close in the Task Pane Options drop-down list to close the Selection pane or simply select the X in the upper-right corner of the pane to close it.

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.

    Screenshot of Review tab in Word
  3. Select Thesaurus in the Proofing group. The Thesaurus pane will open to the right of the document.

    Pressing Shift+F7 will open the Thesaurus pane as well.

    Screenshot of Thesaurus pane
  4. Change the appearance or location of the Thesaurus pane by selecting the Task Pane Options arrow and choosing Move or Size.

  5. Choose Close in the Task Pane Options drop-down list to close the Thesaurus pane or simply select the X in the upper-right corner of the pane to close it.