Microsoft Word 2003, either it’s a standalone product or part of Microsoft Office 2003 suite, comes with a Reading Layout. When user open a Word document from email attachment from Outlook or other e-mail client and double clicking on local disk or other source using Word 2003, the file is displayed in a double-paned “Reading Layout” for user to read.

Word’s Reading Layout attempts to present a more accurate-looking documents onscreen in order to make the documents easier to read by paginating the pages to better fit computer screen. However, the layout hides some features, among them toolbar which make it harder to edit the document. Some readers may not like the layout as it can mess up tables of contents, lists, tables, and long paragraphs.

For user who wants to block, disable and turn off Reading Layout feature and open documents in the default view, which is Print Layout instead, follow the guide of trick below.

  1. Click the Tools menu and choose Options.
  2. When the “Options” multi-tabbed dialog box appears, click General.
  3. Uncheck check box for Allow starting in Reading Layout option.
  4. Click OK.

Some users may have problem to make the setting to disable Reading Layout stick without reverting back to default. In such case, where Reading Layout feature is been turned back on after disabling, use can try to turn off the Reading Layout via Group Policy. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Download and install the Microsoft Office 2003 Resource Kit.
  2. Run the Group Policy Management Console for the Active Directory.
  3. Select or create a Group Policy.
  4. Open User Configuration.
  5. Right-click on Administrative Templates, and select Add/Remove Templates. Then, select and open Word11.ADM.
  6. Navigate to Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Microsoft Office -> Word 2003 -> Tools -> Options -> General -> Allow Starting in Reading Layout.
  7. Select Enabled but untick the check box for Check to allow starting in Reading Layout policy.
  8. Click OK and exit the Group Policy console.

Alternatively, advanced user to directly modify the system registry with the following value to get the same blocking reading layout effect. The code below can also be copied and pasted into a text editor to save as a .reg file, which can then be executed to automatically merge the registry keys.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Options\vpref] "fAllowAutoReadingMode_1886_1"=dword:00000000

Another fairly common reason for user who is using any kind of registry cleaner or removal program is the registry settings that configure and set the Reading Layout been disabled are been deleted or removed by these utilities. Such programs that are known to cause the valid registry values been erased issue are including CCleaner and Disk Cleaner. Users who affected by this scenario may also see symptoms such as losing user preferences or options settings such as Automatically Create Drawing Canvas, Recently Used File List) and Save options (number minutes, etc.).

For above problem, the solution is to set the system cleaner app to clean and remove only junk files and not registry keys or settings. In the case of Disk Cleaner, the setting can be done on the Office plugin.