How to Change the Default Open View in MS Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you tired of always seeing the same view every time you open a new document in Microsoft Word? Want to change things up a bit? Well, you’re in luck! Changing the default open view in MS Word is easier than you might think. In just a few simple steps, you can customize your Word experience to suit your preferences. Let’s dive in!

Step by Step Tutorial to Change the Default Open View in MS Word

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to understand what we’re aiming for. By following these steps, you’ll be able to set your preferred view as the default one that appears every time you open a new or existing Word document. No more zooming in or out every time you start working!

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word

Open Microsoft Word on your computer to get started.
This might seem obvious, but make sure you’re opening a blank document or an existing one where you can access the ‘View’ tab. If you’re greeted with a template selection screen, just open a blank document to proceed.

Step 2: Navigate to the ‘View’ tab

Click on the ‘View’ tab in the ribbon at the top of the screen.
The ‘View’ tab is where all the magic happens. It’s the control center for how you see your document on the screen.

Step 3: Select your preferred view

Choose the view you want to set as default, such as ‘Print Layout’, ‘Web Layout’, or ‘Draft’.
Each view serves a different purpose. ‘Print Layout’ is the most common and shows how the document will look when printed. ‘Web Layout’ is great for web content, while ‘Draft’ view removes some formatting for a simpler look.

Step 4: Access Word Options

Click on ‘File’ in the top left corner, then select ‘Options’ at the bottom of the menu.
This will open the Word Options dialog box, which is where you can customize a wide array of Word settings to better fit your workflow.

Step 5: Set the default view

In the Word Options dialog, click on ‘Advanced’, scroll down to the ‘General’ section, and click on the ‘Web Options’ button.
Keep scrolling until you find the ‘General’ options. It might be a bit of a journey, but you’ll find the button we need there.

Step 6: Change the default view

In the ‘Web Options’ window, go to the ‘General’ tab and check the box next to ‘Allow opening a document in Draft view’.
Even though it’s called ‘Web Options’, this setting also affects other views. By checking this box, you’re allowing Word to open documents in the ‘Draft’ view by default.

Step 7: Save your changes

Click ‘OK’ to close the ‘Web Options’ window, then ‘OK’ again in the ‘Word Options’ dialog to save your changes.
Congratulations! You’ve just customized your default open view. The next time you open a document, it should open in the view you selected.

After completing these steps, your Microsoft Word documents will open in the view you’ve set as default. This means you won’t have to manually change the view every time you start working on a new document. It’s a small change that can save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run.

Tips for Changing the Default Open View in MS Word

  • If you often work with documents in ‘Print Layout’ but find yourself needing to switch to ‘Draft’ for quick edits, setting ‘Draft’ as your default can speed up your workflow.
  • Remember that changing the default view doesn’t affect existing documents that have been saved with a different view. They’ll still open in the view they were last saved in.
  • If you work on multiple computers, you’ll need to change the default open view on each one, as this setting is local to each installation of Word.
  • Consider your most frequent tasks in Word when choosing your default view to optimize efficiency.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different views to find the one that suits you best. You can always change it again later!

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I change my mind and want to revert to the original default view?

No worries! Just follow the same steps and select ‘Print Layout’ in step 3, which is the original default view in MS Word.

Can I set different default views for different types of documents?

Unfortunately, MS Word doesn’t allow for different default views for different document types. The setting applies to all documents.

Will changing the default view affect how my document prints?

No, it won’t. The default open view only affects how documents are displayed on your screen, not the print layout.

What is the ‘Read Mode’ view, and can I set it as default?

‘Read Mode’ optimizes the document for reading on-screen, hiding most of the editing tools. However, you can’t set it as the default open view.

If I’m using MS Word on a Mac, are the steps the same?

The steps are similar but might differ slightly due to the different layouts of the Word interface on Mac. Look for equivalent options in the ‘View’ and ‘Word Preferences’ menus.


  1. Open Microsoft Word
  2. Navigate to the ‘View’ tab
  3. Select your preferred view
  4. Access Word Options
  5. Set the default view
  6. Change the default view
  7. Save your changes


Changing the default open view in MS Word is a piece of cake once you know where to look and what to do. It’s all about making the software work for you and your specific needs. Whether you’re writing a novel, crafting a report, or just jotting down some notes, having the right view can make all the difference.

Remember, it’s your workspace, so don’t hesitate to tailor it to your preferences. And hey, if you ever get tired of your new default view, just pop back into those settings and switch it up again. Flexibility is the name of the game with MS Word, and you’re in control. Keep experimenting until you find that sweet spot that makes your workflow smoother and your Word experience more enjoyable. Happy typing!

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