Microsoft Word: Using Layouts

Microsoft Word has several "layout" views that change how the user sees the document, selected from the View menu. Each is useful in its own way.


The Normal layout is something of a holdover from previous versions. It shows the document without some of the formatting and images, and page breaks are indicated by dotted lines.

Web Layout

The Web Layout option is designed to be used when creating a document that will be saved as a web page (HTML format). Background images are visible, text wraps to fit the window, and overall the formatting appears like the page would appear in a web browser.

Print Layout

The Print Layout option is similar to a permanent "print preview" where the document is shown as close as possible to how it will look when printed. Page margins are shown, along with the edges of the page, for perspective. This view is very useful for editing headers and footers and adjusting margins.

Reading Layout

The Reading Layout choice is intended to make reading documents easier, by hiding objects such as toolbars and rulers. Reading Layout does not display the document as it would for printing. For example, fonts may appear larger.

If Word e-mail attachments you receive open in Reading Layout, you can prevent this by navigating to the Tools/Options dialog box, clicking on the General tab, and unchecking the option "Allow starting in Reading Layout."


The Outline mode takes advantage of a document that uses styles such as Heading 1, Heading 2, etc., to create a collapsible outline of a document. This allows easy navigation of larger documents, that might for example use chapter headings.

October 2006

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