Getting Rid of the Task Pane on Startup

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 27, 2017)


When Joy starts Word, the Word Help task pane appears at the right side of the program window. (Sometimes it is the Getting Started task pane, but usually it is the Word Help task pane.) Joy doesn't want a task pane to appear when she first starts Word and she's tried of closing it every time. She wonders how she can get rid of the task pane so that it doesn't appear when she first starts the program.

Don't like the task pane? You can get rid of it by following these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the View tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The View tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Clear the Startup Task Pane checkbox.
  5. Click OK.

If this doesn't fix the problem, it may be due to a setting in the Registry.

  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 a different version of Word, the 11 portion of the key will be different.)
  4.      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Common\General
  5. Look for a value named DoNotDismissFileNewTaskPane. If you find it, delete it. (Just right-click on it and choose Delete.)
  6. Close the Registry editor.
  7. Restart Word.

If you continue to have problems with the task pane (or you don't like to manually edit the Registry), you'll find additional help in this page on the MVP site:

The page discusses the Task Pane Controller add-in, which makes it easy to change the Registry entry that controls whether the task pane is displayed at startup. The macro used by the add-in need be run only once, and you should uninstall the add-in after using it.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8833) applies to Microsoft Word 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. ...


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What is four less than 8?

2016-12-20 22:13:37

computer user

I think it is a benevolent public service for publishing this online article.
I could not disable the get started pane as I use Word 2010 and the information was not applicable to help me. I would suggest if there were instructions to navigate the disabling of the get started pane in Word 2010, the information would be more current. That is to say without entering the registry, as not everyone is comfortable venturing there.

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