Controlling the Task Pane, even
when add-ins are present
Article by Beth Melton and Bill Coan
There are two problems with the task pane in Word 2002 and 2003:
1. It doesn’t always behave as Microsoft intended it to behave.
2. You may not like the way it behaves even when it’s behaving as Microsoft
The Task Pane Controller solves both of these problems.
The task pane in Word 2002 and Word 2003 can be set to appear automatically
when Word starts up or it can be set to not appear.
Regardless of whether it appears automatically at startup, you can display
the task pane at any time by choosing the Task Pane command on the View
menu. In addition, Word automatically displays the task pane when you start
certain tasks, such as formatting styles or performing mailmerge operations.
When you open or create a document, Word is supposed to dismiss the task pane
so you can focus on your document.
Normally, you can control the behavior of the task pane during startup using
the Startup task pane option found under Tools | Options | View.
Note: In Word 2002, you can use the Show at Startup check box
on the New Document task pane to change this setting
However, when add-ins are present, Word fails to display the task pane even
if the checkbox is checked. Microsoft introduced a Registry hack to help with
this problem. It will display the task pane at Startup even if add-ins are
Unfortunately, Microsoft’s registry hack prevents the task pane from closing
as intended when you open or create a document!
Some users prefer the task pane to remain displayed at all times; some prefer
it to appear at startup but then be dismissed when they open or create a
document; others do not want it to appear when Word starts, and there are those
who want to see as little of it as possible.
Behavior when the Task Pane Controller is present:
Enter the birth of the Task Pane Controller!
The Task Pane Controller add-in for Word was designed to
help you control the task pane without the need to manually hack the Registry or
determine which options need to be turned on/off to suit your needs.
It's simply a matter of selecting whether you want to
see the task pane when Word starts and whether the task pane disappears
automatically when you open or create a new document.
You can obtain the
Task Pane Controller from
Bill Coan's website.