Why Does My Microsoft Word Look Different? Explained

Have you ever opened Microsoft Word and thought, “Wait a minute, this doesn’t look right”? You’re not alone. Microsoft Word can look different for a variety of reasons, such as updates, different versions, or changes in settings. Understanding why your Word looks different can help you navigate the program with ease.

Step by Step Tutorial: Why Does My Microsoft Word Look Different

Before we dive into the steps, let’s talk about what we’re trying to accomplish. We want to figure out why your Microsoft Word looks different and how to fix it if needed. Here’s how you can do that:

Step 1: Check for updates

Make sure your Microsoft Word is up to date.

Sometimes, Microsoft releases updates that change the look and feel of Word. If your Word looks different, it could be because you’re using an older version. To check for updates, open Word, click on ‘File,’ head to ‘Account,’ and select ‘Update Options.’

Step 2: Look at version differences

Compare your version of Word with others.

Microsoft Word has had many versions over the years, each with its unique interface. If you’ve recently switched from an older version to a newer one, like from Word 2013 to Word 2019, you’ll notice some changes. Compare your version with others to see if the differences you’re noticing are due to a version change.

Step 3: Check your view settings

Your view settings can alter the appearance of Word.

If your document looks off, it could be because of the view mode you’re in. Word offers different views like ‘Print Layout,’ ‘Web Layout,’ ‘Outline,’ and ‘Draft.’ To check or change your view, go to the ‘View’ tab and select your preferred view mode.

Step 4: Investigate add-ins and themes

Add-ins and themes can change the look of Word.

Add-ins are third-party tools that can alter how Word looks and functions. Similarly, themes can change the color scheme and font styles in Word. To manage add-ins, go to ‘File,’ ‘Options,’ and then ‘Add-Ins.’ To change themes, head to the ‘Design’ tab.

Step 5: Reset to default settings

If all else fails, reset Word to its default settings.

If you’ve tried everything and your Word still looks different, you might want to reset it to its default settings. This can be done by going to ‘File,’ ‘Options,’ ‘Customize Ribbon,’ and then clicking ‘Reset.’

After completing these steps, you should have a better understanding of why your Microsoft Word looks different. Whether it was an update, a different version, or a change in settings, you’ll now be able to navigate Word with confidence.

Tips: Navigating Changes in Microsoft Word

  • Familiarize yourself with updates and new features regularly.
  • Compare versions if you’ve upgraded recently to understand changes.
  • Customize your Word interface according to your preferences.
  • Keep an eye on add-ins and themes as they can change Word’s appearance.
  • When in doubt, reset to default settings to start fresh.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my Microsoft Word look different after an update?

An update might introduce new features or interface changes, leading to a different look.

Can different versions of Microsoft Word look different?

Yes, each version of Word often has unique elements and layouts.

How can I change my view settings in Word?

Go to the ‘View’ tab and select your preferred view mode like ‘Print Layout’ or ‘Draft.’

Do add-ins affect how Word looks?

Yes, some add-ins can change the appearance or functionality of Word.

How do I reset Word to default settings?

Go to ‘File,’ ‘Options,’ ‘Customize Ribbon,’ and click ‘Reset.’


  1. Check for updates
  2. Look at version differences
  3. Check your view settings
  4. Investigate add-ins and themes
  5. Reset to default settings


Navigating the ever-evolving landscape of Microsoft Word can be a challenge, especially when unexpected changes occur. By understanding the common reasons behind the differences in appearance, like updates, version changes, view settings, add-ins, and themes, you can tailor the program to your needs. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or new to Word, keeping your software up to date, customizing your experience, and knowing how to reset to default settings will ensure that your documents always look their best. Remember, Word is a powerful tool that’s constantly improving, so embrace the changes and keep on typing!

Join Our Free Newsletter

Featured guides and deals

You may opt out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy