Making Draft View the Default View

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 9, 2018)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, and 2013


Word allows you to work with your document using several different "views." Each view has a specific purpose and allows you to examine the document differently. (The difference between Word's views is discussed fully in other WordTips.) The easiest way to switch between views is to use the small view icons on the status bar.

Normally Word displays your document in Print Layout view, in an attempt to approximate what your document will look like when you print it. You may, however, want to use a different view as your default. For instance, many people like to work on their documents in Draft view.

Word is supposed to remember which view you last used with a document. Set a view, save the document, and then the next time you open the document, it should be opened using that view. There are times, however, when it can seem like this isn't the case; like Word is "confused" as to which view it should use with a document.

This may be because you haven't set up Word to pay attention to the Draft view setting. As documented in the Microsoft Knowledge Base (article 919599) you can change this setting in this manner:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and Word 2013 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Scroll down until you see the General settings in the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The advanced options of the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Make sure the Allow Opening a Document in Draft View option is set.
  6. Click OK.

Once done, switch to Draft view and save your document. When you reopen it, the view you want should be used. If you want the Draft view to be used in all future (new) documents, you'll want to make sure that you load the Normal template, change to Draft view, and then resave the template.

There is a big caveat here: Since Word "remembers" the view in which a document was last used (before it was last saved), if you have any documents that were not in Draft view before you saved them, then those documents will not be in Draft view when you next open them. Each of them will need to be opened individually, switched to Draft view, and then resaved. This applies, as well, to documents created by other people—Word will remember the view in which those documents were last saved and then use that view when the document is opened again.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9318) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013.

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 more than 6?

2018-08-10 05:02:10

Al Lowe

I followed this tip precisely -- to no avail. Document will not open in Draft mode. Word 2016. I use this so much that I redefined a keystroke. Take that, Microsoft!

2018-06-18 01:45:18


All websites indicate the same, "Allow Word to open in draft view". It does not work. Since the update to this "super modern and super fabulous and easy" new Word version, I always have to open and switch every document, every time, to draft view. It is a disgrace. If only they had told me before I applied this update. Hard to find any workaround on the internet.

2017-06-12 08:19:18

Christopher Rath

To make documents open in draft mode (or most other views) I've written an MS Word add-in. It is configurable from an options panel and will reset both the view and the zoom as you like. It can be downloaded from

2017-04-02 14:00:50


Allow draft, change file to draft view (with an edit), and opens to print view not draft view. Other websites provide macro that must keep running to open in draft view. (

2017-01-24 13:46:08


NOPE! Doesn't work.

2016-04-17 08:30:40


Sorry Ferdinand and awyatt, you maybe considered a "internationally recognized expert in small computer systems", but your solution doesn't work, as evidenced by numerous other comments not only on here, but many other web sites.

2016-04-09 15:35:57

Ken Emerson

I does not work for me using word 2016 32 bit even after this

File -> Options -> General tab- > Un-check "Open e-mail attachments and other uneditable files in reading view".

2016-03-29 11:38:52


I also need the draft view for all of my documents (Word 2013). This fix just did not work after many tries.

2016-03-24 16:55:49


This fix does not work in Office 2013 Word. I want my word documents to open in draft view by default.

2016-03-19 11:14:16

Natalya Surjik

However, Word 2013 doesn't remember the view mode in which I save my documents. It opens all the documents in Print Layout even though I marked 'Allow opening documents in draft view' and then edit and save my documents in Draft View. Many people on the web complain of this problem starting with Word 2010 and further. Is this issue going to be resolved by Microsoft?

2015-12-08 17:01:02

Robert Service

Sorry folks. Discussion threads elsewhere on the web confirm, what I painfully proved to myself this afternoon. Current versions of Word - I am using 2016, but others say the problem began with 2013 - simply will not remember the draft view, even though there is a checkbox which implies that it will. The only known fix is a macro which you have to add to normal.dotm. Google "open files in draft view" to find that.

2015-10-20 16:04:01


Yep, I'm sure that's the *only* explanation, Ferdinand.


2015-10-20 14:20:23

Ferdinand Burfopolis

Wow, three (now four) people it DIDN'T work for, vs. ONE person where this solution did work properly.

So what we're REALLY saying is that Allen Wyatt an internationally recognized expert in small computer systems, really doesn't know MS Word 2013 as well as he claims to!

2014-12-30 18:35:19


This Works, thanks!

But as long as you go to File -> Options -> General tab- > Un-check "Open e-mail attachments and other uneditable files in reading view".

2014-11-24 11:46:22

Ron Pederson

I agree with John and Jack. Document still opened in print view. I restarted Word thinking that would reread the Options - still opened in Print view.

2014-11-24 00:14:54

Jack Carpenter

I agree with John Watson. Document still opens in print view

2014-09-20 05:34:10

John Watson

This doesn't work - even after modifying the settings as indicated & saving in draft, the document still opens in print view!

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