Always Starting with a Blank Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 31, 2016)


When Steven opens Word, he sees a number of choices for either creating a blank document or using various templates as a basis for a new document. He always chooses to create a blank document. He wonders of there is a way to skip this opening palette of choices and simply go to a blank document from the get-go.

The behavior that Steven describes is specific to both Word 2013 and Word 2016. Microsoft calls this new "feature" the Start screen, and you can fortunately control whether it is displayed or not.

  1. Display the File tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the Options button. Word displays the Word Options dialog box.
  3. At the left side of the dialog box, make sure General is selected. (It should be selected by default.)
  4. Scroll down, if necessary, until you see the Start Up Options section. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The General options of the Word Options dialog box.

  6. Clear the Show Start Screen when this Application Starts check box.
  7. Click on OK.

Now, the next time you start Word, you won't be shown the Start screen. Instead, you'll see a blank document, the same as in earlier versions of Word.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8433) applies to Microsoft Word 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. ...


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What is six more than 8?

2017-01-06 15:31:47


Thank you! Never thought about it, but it is annoying! Same steps work for Excel, etc.

2017-01-03 21:04:09

Glenda Mattes

I have MS Word 2013. I do not get the option to "Show start screen when this application starts." What is wrong?

2017-01-03 12:59:37

Peter Buxton

Thanks Allen.
That removes all the never-used featured templates on startup, and means I start with my preferred formatting and a usable Style Gallery. What I would like though is that when I click File>New, Word defaults to the PERSONAL tab rather than FEATURED.
Can this be done?

2017-01-02 08:49:21

Lucas Hutton

I'd like to add a paragraph for people (like me) who use Word for Mac. In Word 2016 for Mac, click Word on the toolbar, then Preferences ... . Then, in Word Preferences —> Authoring and Proofing Tools, click General. In Settings, uncheck the box for "Show Word Document Gallery when opening Word."

2016-12-31 08:25:09


Thank you thank you thank you!

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