How can I prevent the Office task pane from automatically opening?

Microsoft Office users can close the task pane any time by clicking the "X" in the top right-hand side of the task pane Window. However, in Microsoft Office 2003, the task pane can be set to load automatically each time Microsoft Word opens. Users who do not use this feature of Office or only want it to show when they choose can follow the steps below.

  1. Open Microsoft Word
  2. Click Tools
  3. Click Options
  4. In the Options window click the View tab
  5. Uncheck the option for "Startup Task Pane"

The next time you open Microsoft Word the Task Pane should not open automatically.

There are some situations where following the above steps will not disable this feature. When this occurs, modify the Windows registry. Below are the steps required for disabling the task pane feature from the Windows registry.

  1. Close out of all programs including any open Microsoft Office programs.
  2. Click Start
  3. Click Run
  4. In the Run window, type "regedit" and press enter or click ok.
  5. In the Registry editor, open the below registry key.

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Common\General
  6. Once in the above section, locate the "DoNotDismissFileNewTaskPane" key, highlight it, and press the delete key to delete this key.
  7. Close the registry editor.

Once the above steps have been followed, the next time Microsoft Word is opened you should not see the office task pane.

Additional information

  • See the task pane definition for further information and related links.