Instant Relief: Word attachments open in reading view (half page)

This is a common irritant. There is a simple solution.


Apply it NOW.

word opening in reading view - Dr. Nitin Paranjape

Estimated reading time 2 min

Irritant: Opening Word attachments in Outlook

The Word attachment opens in a weird way- actually it is called a Reading Layout (or view or mode). But most of us have never used it before. So it looks different. Some users describe it as “it opens as half pages!” – this is because reading view is by default shown in a two page mode.


The logic is simple. Microsoft expects us to read the incoming documents more often than review them. I don’t know if that is right or wrong. But that is why the default is reading view.

Earlier, pressing Escape used to get rid of the Reading View and bring it back the familiar Page Layout mode. It still works.

But there is another hindrance. Due to the virus threats, any document received as an attachment is suspect (not just Word – any kind of file). Therefore, since 2010 version of Word, you have to explicitly click a button trusting the attachment.


Here is the solution.

Stop showing Reading View by default

Open Word – go to File – Options – General (it is open by default)


Unselect the option: Open e-mail attachments and other uneditable files in reading view


The exact phrase and the current setting will differ depending upon the version of Office. The image above is from Word 2013.

Now onwards the attachments will open in Print Layout mode.

IT Pro: Use Group Policy

Using Group Policy, this setting can be disabled across the organization (or for specific groups). Download the Group Policy templates for Office from here.


How to stop the security warning?

Ha ha. No. There is no way. And you should not even try to find a way. Why?

Because that behavior is protecting you.

No doubt it is irritating and it comes in the way. But most things related to IT security are irritating. For example, we have to change the password every x number of days or click Ok for so many warnings which may come up while working on internet.

Irritating = Extremely Useful

In fact, I propose this simple guiding principle. If something is irritating – it must be very useful. Here are some examples:

Irritating feature = Extremely useful :) GetPivotData
Simple solution to an irritating problem: Copy pasting slides


Comments? Suggestions? Wish list?