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: Word Won't Maximize.

Word Won't Maximize

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 13, 2020)


Herm wrote about a problem he was having with Word. It seems that whenever he starts the program, it only appears as a button on the taskbar. Clicking on the taskbar button doesn't maximize Word, and the only way he can get the full display is to right-click on the taskbar button and select Maximize.

There are several possible causes for this problem. When you right-click on the taskbar button, take a look at the choices displayed. If the choices include Maximize and Minimize, but not restore, then Windows already has the Word window open, it is just open "off screen." The easiest way to correct this situation is to open another program in addition to Word, and then right-click on the taskbar. (Not on any taskbar buttons, but on the taskbar itself.) From the resulting choices, choose Cascade or Cascade Windows. This causes Windows to bring both program windows (Word and the other program you have open) back into the visible screen area. Close Word right away and reopen it, and things should be back to normal.

Another possible cause is that Word is configured to always start minimized. This is normally done by modifying the shortcut used to start the program. Right-click on the shortcut used to start Word, then choose Properties. On the Shortcut tab of the Properties dialog box, choose Maximized in the Run box. Now, the next time you start Word using this particular shortcut, it should be maximized on the screen.

If this still doesn't solve the problem, it is possible that the Registry key used by Word to store your configuration settings has somehow become unstable or corrupted. Fortunately, you can delete this data key and Word will rebuild it automatically the next time you start the program. Follow these steps:

  1. Exit Word.
  2. Start your favorite Registry editor.
  3. Locate the following data key. (This data key, as shown below, is for Word 2016 and later versions. If you are using a different version of Word, the 16 portion of the key will be different.)
  4.      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Word\Data
  5. Rename the entire key to something else, or simply delete it.
  6. Close the Registry editor.
  7. Restart Word.

Remember that any time you make changes in the Registry you run the risk of really messing up your machine. Don't delete or change anything else in the Registry except what is detailed above. If desired, you may want to back up the Registry before making any changes. (You can find out how to do Registry backups in any decent Windows tutorial book.)

Another caveat is that by renaming or removing the data key (and thereby forcing Word to start over from scratch) you lose many of your other customizations. Thus, you may want to have in mind exactly what those customizations are so that you can redo them after restarting 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 (8438) 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: Word Won't Maximize.

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 five minus 0?

2016-10-12 21:48:57


Don't know if this thread is still active but here goes...
I am using word 2007 on a windows 7 64 bit pc.
Whenever I start word, it always starts in the size I last exited word. I want it to ALWAYS start maximized.
I have tried holding the control key as I exit word maximized and next time I open word it is maximized. However, if I open word then change to "restore down" and exit (not holding control key) it opens at the restore down size, not maximized.
I have set the "run" option in the word properties to "maximized" but this has no effect.
I haven't tried changing the registry entry as described above as I am a bit wary about this. But if I do try to change the registry, is that guaranteed to fix the problem?

2015-12-10 02:36:31

Mihai Ditiu

Hi Allen!

Thank you for your solution! I had the same problem with Word 2003 and I deleted the Data Key as mentioned; works for me without restart the computer.

All the best!

2015-12-08 15:21:00


The Taskbar CASCADE not being on was the issue. I selected CASCADE and it fixed. Thank you!

2015-03-28 06:54:52

michelle sheree

Hi, i have followed the above tip word wont maximise in order to try and sort out the same problem but not for word 2010, instead i have the same problem with outlook and excel, they just will not open in maximised view so i can work in the programme. i tried deleting,


but it had no effect at all on Excel or Oulook. Help.

2015-02-27 14:33:25

Glenn Case

Thanks to Caran for an excellent tip!

2015-02-25 12:33:42

Phil Reinemann

We have a similar situation for a completed unrelated app (not a Microsoft or Office app).

The app shows in the task bar but clicking maximize or restore only briefly puts it on the screen and then it returns to the task bar. (These are laptops which may have lost battery power and shut down while the app was minimized.)

Open Task Manager, find the application, right-click it and pick maximize. Close Task Manager. Much easier than messing with the registry, especially finding that key!

2015-02-23 12:49:03


Regarding customizations: I regularly export my customizations for Word and Outlook, so that I have a back up of them when something crashes. For Word, it's File-> Options-> Customize Ribbon-> Import/Export (button at bottom right)-> Export all customizations. I rely heavily on my customized QAT, so having to re-create those shortcuts is a pain.

2015-02-21 12:51:06

Mike Riley

Another thing: if your text suddenly changes its font throughout your document, and you have to restart Word to get it back; or, if it changes and writes on top of itself so you cant read it:

Select (in Word 07/10/13) under Advanced > Display> "Disable hardware graphics accelertion".

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