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October 13, 2023

How to Close a Word Document Without Exiting Word

Article by Paul Sutton

Many people are accustomed to closing individual Word documents by clicking the "X" button provided in each document window. However, this closes only the document itself, and leaves Word still open for you to switch to another document or to use the program's other features. Many are confused by this behavior when they encounter Word 2007, which doesn't provide the same button for individual documents but does include a "Close" command that closes the entire program when only one document is open.

When you click the Close button in a single-document window, Word moves to Backstage view and prompts you for a choice. Click Save to save your changes and close the file, Don't Save to abandon your changes and exit Word, or Cancel to stop the close operation and return to your document.

If you haven't saved the document since making last-minute changes, Word displays a warning box when you attempt to close it. Choose Yes to save your changes and close the file, No to discard your changes and exit Word, or Cancel if you change your mind and want to keep working on the document.

To close a single document while keeping the program window open, choose the File menu and then select Exit. Word (together with the running document) quits, and you can continue using the program to browse for a new document or to create a document from a template. Alternatively, you can also close all the current documents by using the Close command in each document window.