How to Work with Different Views in Microsoft Word

206365 How to Work with Different Views in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word offers several different views that change how your document is displayed on your screen. Using different views can help optimize Word for different tasks like editing, reading, web publishing, outlining, and more. Here is an overview of the main views available and how to use them effectively.

Print Layout View

This is the default view in Word. Print Layout shows your document as it would look when printed, including elements like page margins, headers and footers, page breaks, images, and more.

Use Print Layout when:

  • You want to see your final document formatting
  • Adding page elements like headers, footers, page numbers
  • Adjusting margins and page setup

To switch to Print Layout:

  • Click the View tab > Print Layout button
  • Or click the Print Layout icon in the bottom-right corner

Full Screen Reading View

The Full Screen Reading view maximizes the space to display the document text. It hides the ribbons and toolbars, leaving only the document text on a minimalistic background.

Use Reading View for:

  • Reading through a long document
  • Focusing on the text content without distractions
  • Reviewing papers, editing documents, proofreading

To switch to Reading View:

  • Click View tab > Full Screen Reading
  • Or click the Full Screen Reading icon in the bottom-right corner

Web Layout View

Web Layout shows what your document would look like if viewed in a web browser. It removes page margins, wraps text to the window rather than page width, and positions images inline.

Use Web Layout for:

  • Designing documents for online viewing
  • Evaluating formatting for web publishing
  • Copying content to paste into a website

To switch to Web Layout View:

  • Click View tab > Web Layout
  • Or click the Web Layout icon in the bottom-right corner

Outline View

Outline View shows the structure of your document in an outline format based on heading levels. It allows you to easily rearrange and organize sections.

Use Outline View when:

  • Rearranging or organizing a long complex document
  • Promoting/demoting headings to adjust structure
  • Writing documents using an outline

To switch to Outline View:

  • Click View tab > Outline

Draft View

Draft View simplifies the interface to focus on essential writing and editing tools. It hides design elements like images, headers, page layout, and more.

Use Draft View for:

  • Drafting documents with minimal distractions
  • Quick editing and writing without formatting concerns

To switch to Draft View:

  • Click View tab > Draft

Changing Views

To quickly change views, use the view buttons at the bottom-right corner of the Word window rather than going to the ribbon tab.

You can also use these keyboard shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + Alt + P: Switch to Print Layout
  • Ctrl + Alt + O: Switch to Web Layout
  • Ctrl + Alt + N: Switch to Draft View
  • Ctrl + Alt + U: Switch to Outline View
  • Alt + W + F: Switch to Full Screen Reading

Whichever view you choose, you can easily switch between them at any time without losing your formatting or document content. Experiment with using different views for different purposes to optimize your experience using Word.

Tips for Using Views Effectively

  • Use Print Layout when perfecting page layout and formatting for printing
  • Use Reading View to review papers without distraction
  • Use Web Layout when designing documents for online use
  • Use Draft View when you just want to write without formatting hassles
  • Use Outline View when organizing and structuring complex documents

Section Breaks in Long Documents

For longer documents like reports, manuscripts, or books, you may want to divide your document into sections instead of having one long document. Section breaks allow you to have different headers, footers, page numbering, margins, and more for different parts.

To insert a section break:

  1. Place your cursor where you want the new section to start
  2. Go to the Layout tab and click Breaks
  3. Select a section break type:
  • Next Page – The new section starts on the next page
  • Continuous – The new section starts on the same page
  • Even Page or Odd Page

When you have multiple sections, you can double click the header or footer to edit it for just that section. The different headers and footers will then appear automatically in the appropriate sections when printing or changing views.

Using section breaks is useful for documents like:

  • Books with different headers/footers and numbering for chapters
  • Reports with an executive summary, technical report, and appendix
  • Proposals with different headers/footers for various sections

Experiment with section breaks when working with large documents in Word to optimize structure and layout.


Learning how to work with the different views in Word allows you to customize the editing and reading experience. Choosing the right view helps you minimize distractions, streamline workflows, and enhance productivity. As you being to tailor Word to your needs through effective use of views, you can unlock the full potential of this powerful word processing software.

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