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.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 14, 2016)
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:
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.
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