Opening the Document Map by Default

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 28, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


One of the features that Word provides for working with a document is referred to as the Document Map. How you use this feature has been discussed in other issues of WordTips. Exactly when the Document Map pops up, however, may seem a bit confusing—until you understand how Word uses this tool.

The first thing to understand is that there is no Document Map "setting" that is saved with a document. Instead, the Document Map is either on or off within the current environment, on a document-by-document basis. Thus, you can have two documents open at the same time, and be using the Document Map in only one of them. If you are viewing the document that has the Document Map turned on, and you open or create another document, then Word assumes you want the Document Map turned on for the new document, as well. If you are viewing the document that is not using the Document Map and you open or create another document, then Word assumes you don't want to use the Document Map for the new document.

If you want to make sure that the Document Map is always open for specific documents, then the only way to accomplish this is through the use of a macro that is saved with those specific documents. The following macro will do the trick, if you save it as part of the ThisDocument object for the document in question:

Private Sub Document_Open()
    ThisDocument.ActiveWindow.DocumentMap = True
    ThisDocument.ActiveWindow.DocumentMapPercentWidth = 20
End Sub

This little macro makes sure that the Document Map is open, and that it is set to 20% of the width of the program window. (You can change the percentage, if desired.) The caveat to remember with this macro is that while it turns the Document Map on, the Document Map will also be on for any other documents that you open while viewing this particular document. (Remember—that's the way Word treats the Document Map feature, as described earlier.)


If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1628) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Marking Gender-Specific Grammar

Some people feel that your writing can be better if you remove gender-specific language it may contain. Here's how you ...

Discover More

Jumping to a Footnote

Jumping to a specific footnote can be very handy if your document has a lot of footnotes in it. Word provides the ...

Discover More

Specifying Chart Sizes

If you need a number of charts in your workbook to all be the same size, it can be a bother to manually change each of ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Understanding the Document Map

The Document Map is a handy way to view the overall organization of your document as you are working with it. It is like ...

Discover More

Controlling the Outline in the Document Map

When you display the Document Map, you are essentially looking at an outline of the document at the same time as you ...

Discover More

Navigating In the Document Map

Using the Document Map to navigate through your document is easy and intuitive. The value of using it for navigation is ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 4 + 6?

2020-01-16 10:29:41


2017-09-08 18:50:28


Have you ever discovered a way to get the Document map to display styles other than Header-type of styles? Thanks for considering!

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.


FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.