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: Keeping Word Open after Closing Documents.

Keeping Word Open after Closing Documents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 4, 2016)

Paul notes that in Excel he can close all workbooks and the application still remains active. He would like to be able to close all the documents in Word and have the program still remain open, as well. He wonders if there is some way to configure Word to behave in this way.

How the Word program behaves when you close the last document can vary, depending on your version of Word. That it, it varies if you use the Close button in the upper-right corner of the screen to close your documents.

If you want to make sure that the program remains open after closing all documents, you should make sure that you should click the document Close button instead of the program Close button. You can tell the difference between the two because the program Close button has a 3-D appearance while the document Close button does not. In addition, the document Close button is located lower on the screen than the program Close button. Click the document Close button, and the program window should remain open whether it contains documents or not.

You can also choose to close documents by using one of two shortcuts: either Ctrl+W or Ctrl+F4. Using either one is the same as clicking on the document Close button. When the last document is open and you use one of these shortcuts, the document is closed, but the program window remains open.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9989) 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: Keeping Word Open after Closing Documents.

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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