No Ribbon on New Documents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 9, 2018)


When Peter creates a new document with Word 2016, the document sometimes opens with no Quick Access Toolbar or ribbon visible. All he sees is the window edges, the document name, and the ruler. This makes working on the document almost impossible. If Peter closes the file and re-opens, it opens normally and he can continue. This is really frustrating and a waste of time, so Peter wonders if anyone has seen this and knows how to fix it.

There are a few possibilities that could be causing this. First, you might have a macro that is running when you create your document, and the macro is causing the modification. You can check if this is the case by looking at any macros defined in your system and seeing if one of them is triggered when a new document is created. (The macro may actually be stored as part of the new-document template; make sure you check there, as well.)

Another possibility could be that there is some setting in the template that is causing the hiding of the ribbon and QAT. This is a fairly easy possibility to check out—just create your new document using a different template. If the modification only occurs with a particular template, then you know the problem is with that template.

If you are using the Normal template to create your new document, then you'll need to search for Normal.dotx (or Normal.dotm) outside of Word, in Windows, and rename the template(s) to something else. Restart Word, create a new document, and see if the problem occurs again. (It should be noted that if, when you first start Word, you don't see the problem, then chances are good that it isn't being caused by the Normal template in the first place. Why? Because the blank document you see when you first start Word is based on the Normal template. If you can see the ribbon and QAT when you first start Word, then the problem probably isn't in the Normal template.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11979) applies to Microsoft Word 2010, 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 3 + 2?

2016-10-21 09:55:11

Benjamin C. Morin

As a keyboard user, I simply press Ctrl + F1 to show or hide the Ribbon.

Try it. See if it works for you.


2014-06-25 18:33:09


Make sure that you have not activate the "Hide the Ribbon option":

If you a symbol with three points "..." in your ribbon/menu free document, hit those. The ribbon will appear. (Just hitting the top of the window will make the ribbon appear too.)

Than click on the symbol in the upper-right corner with the small arrow (between the help ? and the minimimze _ symbol). From the options there choose the "Show Tabs and Commands" and everything is fine again.

2013-08-28 03:57:26

Anna Butler

I've just started having this problem with a template. Word works fine if I open a normal document, but if I try to create a new document from a template I have no ribbon or tabs.

The tip about closing the doc and reopening works a treat, and I also discovered if I have another Word document open (that has the ribbon) THEN create a new document from my template, the new document has the ribbon. If I DON'T have another Word doc open, then the new doc from the template has no ribbon again.


2013-01-23 20:26:06


When opening a word document and the ribbon is blank, grab the left edge of the document to stretch it a bit, and the ribbon should appear.

2012-08-07 05:24:21

Emile Bons

Thanks Lilli, I was searching for the same problem and I'm really thankful for your comment, would otherwise never have searched in that place.

2012-08-07 00:05:11

Lilli Hausenfluck

I think I discovered the problem and the solution (at least for my office using Word 2010):

If you close a Word document when it is not maximized, the next time you open a Word document, it will open without the Ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar. We found this is true with our proprietary program that uses Word and are pretty certain it is true with standard Word 2010 docs.

The short-term solution if you work on Word docs in a minimized view is to maximize the doc before you close it. If you forget and get a doc without the Ribbon, close it from the maximized view and reopen it and it should be fine.

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