Read documents in Word

If you’re reading a document, not writing or major editing, click or tap View > Read Mode to hide the writing tools and menus and to leave more room for the pages themselves. Read Mode automatically fits the page layout to your device, using columns and larger font sizes, both of which you can adjust.

Read mode in Word

To get out of Read Mode, click or tap View > Edit Document.

Image of portion of View menu in Read Mode, with Edit Document option selected.

What you can do in Read Mode

Common reading tools are built in: Add comments, define and translate words, copy or highlight text, and search Bing. Zoom in and out on images and other objects, expand or collapse sections, or watch embedded videos. Adjust columns, page color, and layout. Open the Navigation Pane to quickly move around in the document.

Here’s how:


Click View > Read Mode to switch to the Read Mode layout.

Turn the page

Click or tap the arrows on the edges of the screen to turn the page.

Image showing right turn page arrow in Read Mode

Zoom in or out

  • Double-click or double-tap to zoom in and make tables, charts, and images in your document fill the screen.

  • Click or tap away from the object to zoom back out and continue reading.

Add or read comments

  • If there are comments in the document, you’ll see a comment hint in the margin. Click it to read that comment. To see all of the comments, click View > Show Comments.

  • To add your own comments, select the content you want to comment about and right-click it, then click New Comment, and type in the comment balloon that appears.

    Tip:  Other options on the View list open the Navigation Pane, change the column width or background color, and switch from columns to a conventional layout.

Image of View menu in Read Mode with the Navigation Pane option selected.


Select and right-click the text you want to copy, and click Copy.

Define or translate text

Right-click the text you want to translate or define, do one of the following:

  • In Word 2016, click Translate or Smart Lookup.

  • In Word 2013, click Translate or Define. To learn about dictionaries in Word 2013, see Where’s the dictionary?


Select and right-click the text, click Highlight, and click the color you want.

Expand and collapse

Collapse or expand parts of a document with just a click or a tap. The expand/collapse arrow appears when you pause next to a heading. (If you’re using a touch device, they’re always visible.)

Image showing expand-and-collapse control arrow next to heading in Read Mode.

Resume reading

Reopen a document and keep reading right where you left off. Word remembers where you were, even when you reopen an online document from a different computer.

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