This article was previously published under Q286374
The task pane is a new feature in Microsoft Word 2002 and later versions of Microsoft Word. It is a window within the program that displays frequently used commands. Its location and size allow you to use these commands while you continue to work in your Word document.
This article answers some of the most frequently asked questions about the task pane in Word.
What Task Panes Are Available in Word?
The following task panes are available:
New Document: You can perform the following tasks by using this task pane:
Open an existing document and see the documents that you used most recently
Create a new document
Create a new document based on an existing document
Create a new document based on a template or wizard
Clipboard: You can choose a specific item to paste from the Office Clipboard. You can also delete an item that you no longer want in the Office Clipboard. The Clipboard holds up to 24 items.
Basic Search: You can type the text that you want to search for, and Word searches for the text in files, file names, and file properties.
Insert Clip Art: This task pane replaces the Insert ClipArt dialog box that appears in earlier versions of Microsoft Word. You can search for the clip art that you want by collection and by media type. In addition, you can organize your clip art and search for clip art on the Web.
Styles and Formatting: You can create, view, and reapply styles by using the Styles and Formatting task pane. Direct formatting that you apply is also stored in this pane, so that you can quickly reapply it.
Reveal Formatting: This task pane shows formatting information about text that is selected or text that is at the insertion point. You can click items such as "Font" and "Language" (displayed as blue underlined text) to change the formatting of your text. When you click the Compare to another selection check box, the differences between two selections are displayed.
Mail Merge: This task pane replaces the Mail Merge Helper in earlier versions of Microsoft Word. Use the Mail Merge Wizard to create form letters, mailing labels, envelopes, directories, and mass distributions of e-mail messages and fax documents.
Translate: Microsoft Word offers basic bilingual dictionary and translation capability, as well as access to translation services on the Web.
How Can I Turn Off the Task Pane?
The task pane cannot be turned off (disabled). You can hide the task pane when you do not need it. If you use a feature that requires the task pane, the task pane automatically reopens.
To hide the task pane, do one of the following:
Click the Close button (the X in the upper-right corner of the task pane).
On the View menu, click Task Pane.
How Can I Open the Task Pane That I Need?
On the View menu, click Task Pane. On the task pane title bar, click the arrow, and then click to select the task pane that you want.
To open the New Document task pane, click New on the File menu.
For additional information about restoring the New dialog box as it appears in earlier versions of Microsoft Word, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
282111 New dialog box is missing when you click New on the File menu
To open the Clipboard task pane, click Office Clipboard on the Edit menu, or press CTRL+C twice.
To open the Basic Search task pane, click Search on the File menu.
To open the Insert Clip Art task pane, point to Picture on the Insert menu, and then click Clip Art.
To open the Styles and Formatting task pane, do one of the following:
On the Format menu, click Styles and Formatting.
On the Formatting toolbar, click the Styles and Formatting icon.
To open the Reveal Formatting task pane, do one of the following:
On the Format menu, click Reveal Formatting.
On the Help menu, click What's This?
To open the Mail Merge Wizard (task pane), do one of the following:
Point to Letters and Mailings on the Tools menu, and then click Mail Merge Wizard.
On the Mail Merge toolbar, click Mail Merge Wizard.
NOTE: To display the Mail Merge toolbar, point to Toolbars on the View menu, and then click to select Mail Merge.
To open the Translate task pane, right-click the text that you want to be translated, and then click Translate on the shortcut menu that appears.
NOTE: For more information about the translation feature in Word, click Microsoft Word Help on the Help menu, type translate in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the topics returned.