Word.Tips.Net WordTips (Menu Interface)

Word Won't Maximize

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Word Won't Maximize.

Herm wrote about a problem he was having with Word. It seems that whenever he starts the program, it only appears as a button on the taskbar. Clicking on the taskbar button doesn't maximize Word, and the only way he can get the full display is to right-click on the taskbar button and select Maximize.

There are several possible causes for this problem. When you right-click on the taskbar button, take a look at the choices displayed. If the choices include Maximize and Minimize, but not restore, then Windows already has the Word window open, it is just open "off screen." The easiest way to correct this situation is to open another program in addition to Word, and then right-click on the taskbar. (Not on any taskbar buttons, but on the taskbar itself.) From the resulting choices, choose Cascade. This causes Windows to bring both program windows (Word and the other program you have open) back into the visible screen area. Close Word right away and reopen it, and things should be back to normal.

Another possible cause is that Word is configured to always start minimized. This is normally done by modifying the shortcut used to start the program. Right-click on the shortcut used to start Word, then choose Properties. On the Shortcut tab of the Properties dialog box, choose Maximized in the Run box. Now, the next time you start Word using this particular shortcut, it should be maximized on the screen.

If this still doesn't solve the problem, it is possible that the Registry key used by Word to store your configuration settings has somehow become unstable or corrupted. Fortunately, you can delete this data key and Word will rebuild it automatically the next time you start the program. Follow these steps:

  1. Exit Word.
  2. Start your favorite Registry editor.
  3. Locate the following data key. (This data key, as shown below, is for Word 2003. If you are using Word 97, replace 11.0 with 8.0; for Word 2000 replace it with 9.0; and for Word 2002 replace it with 10.0.)
  4.      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Data
  5. Rename the entire key to something else, or simply delete it.
  6. Close the Registry editor.
  7. Restart Word.

Remember that any time you make changes in the Registry you run the risk of really messing up your machine. Don't delete or change anything else in the Registry except what is detailed above. If desired, you may want to back up the Registry before making any changes. (You can find out how to do Registry backups in any decent Windows tutorial book.)

Another caveat is that by renaming or removing the data key (and thereby forcing Word to start over from scratch) you lose many of your other customizations. Thus, you may want to have in mind exactly what those customizations are so that you can redo them after restarting Word.

For more details on the methods described in this tip, check out the following Knowledge Base article:


WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8427) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Word Won't Maximize.

Related Tips:

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!


Leave your own comment:

  Notify me about new comments ONLY FOR THIS TIP
Notify me about new comments ANYWHERE ON THIS SITE
Hide my email address
*What is 5+3 (To prevent automated submissions and spam.)
           Commenting Terms

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

Our Company

Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.

About Tips.Net

Contact Us


Advertise with Us

Our Privacy Policy

Our Sites


Beauty and Style




DriveTips (Google Drive)

ExcelTips (Excel 97–2003)

ExcelTips (Excel 2007–2016)



Home Improvement

Money and Finances


Pests and Bugs

Pets and Animals

WindowsTips (Microsoft Windows)

WordTips (Word 97–2003)

WordTips (Word 2007–2016)

Our Products

Helpful E-books

Newsletter Archives


Excel Products

Word Products

Our Authors

Author Index

Write for Tips.Net

Copyright © 2016 Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.