Keeping the Styles Pane Open by Default

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 8, 2021)


Anthony regularly works with client's Word files that contain many styles, and each set of styles is different from client to client. It would be great if he could set the Styles pane to remain open and docked by default. Currently, the Navigation pane automatically opens and docks at the left side of the screen by default, which is great. He's had no luck, though, figuring out a way to make sure the Styles pane remains open. Whenever he starts Word or opens a document, the Navigation pane remains where he wants it, but the Styles pane needs to be manually displayed. Anthony wonders if there is any way to have both of these panes open, docked, and available by default each time a document is opened.

As Anthony has figured out, there is no way to display the Styles task pane, by default. Instead, you'll need to use a macro to display and position it. This macro will do the trick:

Sub DispSetup()
    With Application
        .TaskPanes(wdTaskPaneFormatting).Visible = True
        .CommandBars("Styles").Position = msoBarRight
    End With
    ActiveWindow.DocumentMap = True
End Sub

The .TaskPanes(wdTaskPaneFormatting) property is the one that controls whether the Styles task pane is visible or not. Turning it on, however, is only half of the task—Anthony also wanted it docked at the right side of the document. This is where the .CommandBars("Styles") object comes into play. Setting the position of the object to msoBarRight places it exactly where it should be docked.

Note that this macro (DispSetup) must be executed every time you want to display and position the two panes. You could, if desired, change the macro to have the name AutoOpen, and then it would be run every time you start Word. You could also add more commands to the macro to have it adjust other display features, such as what zoom factor you commonly use. (I have a high-resolution monitor, so I normally set my zoom to somewhere between 150% and 200%.)


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 (5944) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

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. ...


Accurately Setting Tabs Using the Ruler

If you try to set tabs by clicking on the Ruler, you may not be able to set them exactly where you want. This is normally ...

Discover More

Calculating Months of Tenure

Need to know the number of months between two dates? It's easy to figure out if you use the DATEDIF function.

Discover More

Spotty Recalculation

Does your worksheet or workbook not always recalculate like you expect? If so, then some of the ideas in this tip may ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Displaying the Styles You Want Displayed

Want to customize your styles list so that it only lists the ones you are using? It's easy and can save some time when ...

Discover More

Applying Styles

Styles are a powerful formatting tool for the text in your documents. Once you've created styles that describe how you ...

Discover More

Changing the Style Gallery

The style gallery appears on the Home tab of the ribbon. You may want to modify how Word displays styles within the ...

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 eight more than 6?

2021-03-03 09:46:16


Jennifer, in that case the "AutoNew" macro is automatically called.


2021-03-02 09:13:10

Jennifer Cuonzo

AutoOpen is not working when using File/New/Template and choosing the template. It does work when you just double-click on the template from it's location. How can I get it to display as soon as they open the template?

2019-11-18 17:35:10


I can't get this macro to work on my Mac, I get a runtime error. Does it only work with Windows?

2017-06-10 09:36:38

Ken Endacott

What you want is to display the Styles pane when Word is initially loaded, when an existing document is loaded or when the user creates a new document. To cover all three you will need to program in VBA as follows.

These instructions are for placing the code in the Normal Template. They could be placed in an add-in template instead if you don’t want to change the Normal template.

1. From a blank document ALT + F11 to display the VBA Project window.
2. In the Project pane select Normal and expand it
3. Click Insert > Class Module. Rename the module to clsAppEvent in the Properties window. If the properties window is not visible then click View > Properties Window.
4. Copy the following into the Class module window:

Public WithEvents App As Word.Application
Private Sub App_DocumentOpen(ByVal Doc As Document)
App.TaskPanes(wdTaskPaneFormatting).Visible = True
End Sub
Private Sub App_NewDocument(ByVal Doc As Document)
App.TaskPanes(wdTaskPaneFormatting).Visible = True
End Sub
Private Sub App_WindowActivate(ByVal Doc As Document, ByVal Wn As Window)
App.TaskPanes(wdTaskPaneFormatting).Visible = True
End Sub

5. Click Insert > Module. This will create a module with a default name typically Module 1
6. Copy the following into the module:

Dim X As New clsAppEvent
Public Sub autoexec()
Set X.App = Word.Application
End Sub

7. CTRL + S to save the Normal template
8. Close Word. When you restart word then the styles pane will be displayed..

2017-06-10 05:46:27


"As Anthony has figured out, there is no way to display the Styles task pane, by default. Instead, you'll need to use a macro to display and position it."

There is no need for a macro at all. To get the Styles pane to dock simply drag it to the edge of the window and it will dock.

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

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.