Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Quickly Changing Document Windows.

Quickly Changing Document Windows

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 20, 2024)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


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If you routinely use several open documents to do your work, you already know that you can change between document windows by using the Switch Windows tool on the View tab of the ribbon. You may not know, however, that there is a shortcut for changing windows. You can cycle through your documents by pressing either Ctrl+F6 or Shift+Ctrl+F6. The difference is that Ctrl+F6 cycles through the list of windows in a forwards direction, while Shift+Ctrl+F6 cycles through the list of windows in backwards direction.

If you would rather not take your hands off the mouse, you can add a handy tool to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT):

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. A quick way to do this is to click on the down-arrow at the right of the Quick Access Toolbar and then choose More Commands located towards the bottom of the list. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Word Options dialog box.

  3. Using the Choose Command From drop-down list, click View Tab. You'll notice that the options displayed under the drop-down list change to reflect your choice.
  4. Scroll through the options (if necessary) and click on the Switch Windows option.
  5. Click the Add button. The Switch Windows command moves to the list at the right.
  6. Click OK to close the Word Options dialog box.

Note that the new tool is now available on your QAT. Click on it a few times (if you have multiple windows open) and you'll be able to get a feel for how the tool cycles through the windows.

If you prefer, you can create a macro that cycles through the windows. This macro can then be assigned to the Quick Access Toolbar. The following macro will cycle forwards through the windows:

Sub ChangeWin()
    On Error GoTo ChangeWinErr
    Set bb = ActiveWindow.Next
    If Windows.Count > 1 Then
        bb.Activate
        Exit Sub
    End If
    ChangeWinErr:
        Windows(1).Activate
End Sub

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9891) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Quickly Changing Document Windows.

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 seven more than 4?

2024-04-23 09:43:58

Paul Stregevsky

I highly recommend a brilliant add-on, Office Tabs. It makes switching between documents almost fun. You can assign a different color to each tab. Sadly, I'm not permitted to install it on my work computer.


2024-04-22 11:22:16

Joan Koskela

I just use Alt-Tab and Shift-Alt-Tab to switch between windows.


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