Open Word in two windows, side by side

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If you are editing two documents, and moving text between them, it is useful to have them both on the screen together, side by side.  Here is how I do this:

Open word the way you normally do – then open one document.

So, you can see one document, and it is probably taking up most of the screen. First, lets make this smaller, to make room for when you open the second document.  On the top right of the document window, there are 3 small icons – the one furthest to the right is an “x” which will close the document down.  The one in the middle will either be two boxes overlapping, or one box.  If you have one box, skip this next bit in italics.  If you have two boxes overlapping, then the document is using the whole screen – click on the boxes, and the document window now only takes up part of the screen. To resize this window, hover the mouse over the side of the window until the cursor changes to a double headed arrow a bit like this : ↔  . When you see this, hold down the left button on the mouse, and drag it to the left or right to make the window narrower.  Now, put the mouse in a blank spot at the top of the document ribbon – maybe just to the left of those little box icons – now when you hold down the left button of the mouse you can move this window to one side of the screen.

Okay, so hopefully we now have one document open, taking up one side of the screen.

To open the second document, right click on the Word icon at the bottom of the screen, on the task bar.  You should see a list open, click on where it says “Microsoft Word” or “Microsoft Office”, and another window opens.  This is where you open your second document – click on “File” or the Office button on the top left of this window, and navigate to the document you want to open; it may be under “Recent” if it is one you have been editing recently.

So now you have two documents open.  You may need to resize the new window in the same way as above; you will need to move it to the other side of the screen so you can see both documents at the same time.

Once you have got both your documents open, you can resize and move each window until you are happy with the layout.  You can cut and paste or drag and drop text between the two.

Be aware of where the cursor is!  When you start to type, the typing appears in the document which  currently has the cursor!  When you switch between documents, you need to click into the new document to move the cursor across.


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One thought on “Open Word in two windows, side by side

  1. Eliane Mackintosh

    Yes, that is really a very useful skill when one of the documents, maybe an old draft, is used as a source to contribute selected material to a final re-worked copy.


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