Disable Reading Layout in Word 2003

I know Office 2003 is “sooooo last season” but i get asked about this quite a lot thought i’d stick it on here

When you open Word document attached to an e-mail the reading layout is displayed. Some users don’t actually realise the view is supposed to help them read the document on screen.

What normally happens (especially if the document has pictures/diagrams) is that the user thinks the document has been poorly laid out and they close Word straight away

Quite unfair on the author wouldn’t you say?

So to change this behaviour open Word, click on the TOOLS menu and select OPTIONS

When the options dialog is displayed select the GENERAL tab and uncheck the ALLOW STARTING IN READING LAYOUT option (top right)

You can still select reading layout if need be but when you open a document from now on it will open in the standard view (usually page layout view?)

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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5 thoughts on “Disable Reading Layout in Word 2003

  • To permanently disable Reading Layout in Word 2003, save this as a .reg file and execute it:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


    PS: Note that this is per user.

  • Thanks for the reg entry

    Could roll this into a group policy and distribute it accross a company

    Must go and take a look at the Office ADM’s to see if this can be done in group policy without any reg entries!

  • This does not work with
    XP-SP2 2600.xpsp_sp2_gdr.070227-2554
    word2003 11.8202.8202

    The registry is different!

    The “clean” way is to choose tools options and disble the start in reading layout radio button.

  • holgerdenizen,

    Thanks for the comment

    The reg entry is used to roll the setting out to a number of users. Bit of a pain if it’s changed though!

    It’s why the ADM for group policy would be more help here

  • Hi to everybody!!!
    Overall thanks to pisboi for this important hack.
    I confirm that it is OK until you access manually Tools-Options-Standard tab …: in this case, even if you change NOTHING, when you click OK the registry key DISAPPEAR!!!
    So it’s strongly recommended to put it in LogOn Script, to be SURE this option is “still” alive.
    Thanks, thanks, thanks.

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