How to Make a Print Layout the Default View in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

To make the print layout the default view in Word, simply open the program, go to the ‘View’ tab, choose ‘Print Layout’ and then close the program. The next time you start Word, it will open in Print Layout view.

After you’ve made Print Layout the default view, each time you open a new or existing document, it will automatically be in Print Layout view. This view closely resembles how the document will look when printed, with margins, headers, and footers all visible.


When it comes to working in Microsoft Word, the experience can vary significantly depending on the view you’re using. From Web Layout to Draft View, each offers a unique perspective and set of tools to aid in the creation and editing of your document. But for most of us, the Print Layout view is where we spend the majority of our time. It’s the view that provides the most accurate representation of what our document will look like when printed or shared as a PDF.

However, Word doesn’t always open in Print Layout view by default, which can be a bit of a hassle if you prefer this view over others. For writers, students, and professionals who frequently work with Word documents, having to switch to Print Layout view manually every time you open a document can be a tedious, time-consuming task. That’s why knowing how to make Print Layout the default view in Word is a handy trick that can save you time and improve your productivity. Whether you’re working on reports, essays, or manuscripts, this little adjustment can make a big difference in your workflow.

Step by Step Tutorial to Make Print Layout the Default View in Word

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand that following this tutorial will mean that every time you open Word, it will default to the Print Layout view. This is the view that most closely resembles how your document will look when printed, with all the text and images in place.

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word

Begin by opening Microsoft Word on your computer.

Once you open Word, it usually shows the last view you were using when you closed the program. If that’s not Print Layout, don’t worry; we’re going to fix that.

Step 2: Go to the ‘View’ Tab

Next, click on the ‘View’ tab located at the top of the Word window.

The ‘View’ tab is where you can switch between different views, check out the reading mode, and adjust other settings related to how your document is displayed.

Step 3: Select ‘Print Layout’

In the ‘View’ tab, select ‘Print Layout’ from the document views section.

Choosing ‘Print Layout’ will switch your current document view to Print Layout if it’s not already there.

Step 4: Close Word

Finally, close Microsoft Word.

This step is crucial. You need to close Word to ensure that your preference for the Print Layout view is saved.


Accurate Page RepresentationThe Print Layout view gives an accurate representation of how a page will look when printed, including the layout of text and images.
EfficiencyHaving Print Layout as the default view saves time as you don’t have to manually switch views every time you open a document.
Ease of EditingThis view is typically easier to edit in as it displays text formatting, images, and other elements as they will appear on the printed page.


Might Not Suit All TasksFor some tasks, like editing or writing without distraction, other views like Web Layout or Draft might be more suitable.
Could Be Slower on Older ComputersThe Print Layout view can be more resource-intensive, potentially slowing down Word on older computers.
Takes Up More Screen SpaceThis view displays margins and other page elements, which can reduce the amount of text you see on the screen at once.

Additional Information

While setting the Print Layout view as the default is a straightforward process, there are a few additional tips to keep in mind. For instance, if you work with a variety of document types, remember that this setting will apply to all of them. So, if you frequently switch between drafting and finalizing documents, you may still find yourself changing views.

If you’re collaborating with others, setting Print Layout as your default view can also ensure consistency in how you and your team members view and edit documents. This uniformity can help avoid formatting errors and miscommunications.

Also, if you ever need to switch back to a different default view, the process is as simple as choosing that view and closing Word, similar to what you did for Print Layout. So don’t worry, your choice isn’t permanent!

Finally, remember that while the Print Layout view is a visual representation of how your document will print, it’s always a good idea to do a final check with ‘Print Preview’ before sending your document off to the printer.


  1. Open Microsoft Word.
  2. Click on the ‘View’ tab.
  3. Select ‘Print Layout’.
  4. Close Microsoft Word.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will this setting apply to all my documents?

Yes, setting Print Layout as the default view will apply to all documents you open in Word.

Can I switch back to another view later?

Absolutely, you can switch to any other view at any time, and you can make any view the default by selecting it and closing Word.

Does this setting sync across devices?

No, this setting is specific to the instance of Word on your computer. If you use Word on multiple devices, you’ll need to set the default view on each one.

Will this affect how my document prints?

Not directly, but the Print Layout view provides a good approximation of how your document will look when printed.

What if I only want certain documents to open in Print Layout view?

Unfortunately, Word’s default view setting applies to all documents. You’ll need to manually change the view for individual documents if you don’t want them to open in Print Layout view.


Mastering how to make Print Layout the default view in Word can significantly streamline your workflow, especially if you regularly work with documents that need to be printed or shared in a print-ready format. While it’s a simple tweak, it’s one that can save you time and ensure that what you see on the screen is what you’ll get on paper.

Whether you’re a student, a professional writer, or someone who frequently uses Word for personal projects, this adjustment will allow you to jump right into the task at hand without fiddling with view settings. And remember, if you ever need to switch up your view for a specific task, you’re just a few clicks away from the perfect setup. Happy writing!

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