Using the Selection Pane

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 14, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


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Word includes a handy management tool called the Selection pane. This tool was introduced in Word 2010 and was initially called the Selection and Visibility pane. This tool is meant for working with objects in your document, particularly shapes and images. To use the tool, display the Layout tab of the ribbon and click the Selection Pane tool in the Arrange group. The pane appears at the right side of the document. (The Selection Pane tool is a toggle; clicking it a second time hides the pane.)

The purpose of the pane is to list all the objects on the current page. You can then use the controls in the pane to hide or display the objects or to change the order in which they appear. Assuming there are objects listed for the current page, note that there is a small icon at the right of each object's name. Click this and you alternately hide or display the object.

When you select an object in the Selection pane, Word also selects it in the document itself. With an object selected you can adjust the ordering of that object, relative to other objects on the page, by clicking the up and down buttons at the top-right of the pane. Ordering only has practical value if your objects overlap each other in some manner; in that case the ordering determines which object is in front of or behind the other objects.

It should be noted that the Selection pane displays only the objects on the currently displayed page, not all the objects in the document. This means that as you scroll through the document, what is listed in the pane will necessarily change as you move from page to page.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8342) applies to Microsoft Word 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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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Comments

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What is six less than 9?

2022-05-16 04:57:19

Robert Love

Is the Selection Pane available on a Mac? I recommended this tip to a friend with a Mac but he says he can't find it.


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