Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Horizontally Viewing All Your Text.

Horizontally Viewing All Your Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 1, 2018)

Normally, Word displays text on the screen as it will appear on a hard-copy printout. This feature is often referred to as WYSIWYG (pronounced whizzy-wig), which means "what you see is what you get." There may be times, however, when viewing documents this way can be bothersome. For instance, if you are working on a very wide document, or if you are using a computer set to a low video resolution. In these instances, the only way to see all your text horizontally is to scroll left and right—which can get to be very tedious.

If you get tired of scrolling left and right, you can try the following:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left of the dialog box.
  3. Scroll through the available options until you see the Show Document Content section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Advanced options of the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Make sure the Show Text Wrapped Within the Document Window check box is cleared.
  6. Click on OK.

This check box essentially turns off most of the WYSIWYG features of Word. Instead, none of your document lines will extend beyond the right-most edge of your screen. It should be noted that you won't be able to see the results of clearing the Show Text Wrapped Within the Document Window check box if the document on the screen is viewed in the Print Layout view. Change to either Outline or Draft view in order to see the results. When you later want to see what your document will look like on a printout, simply repeat the above steps to set the check box.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6019) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Horizontally Viewing All Your Text.

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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