There are two problems with the task pane in Word and Excel 2002/2003:
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 can be set to appear automatically when the application 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 new file, task pane is supposed to be dismissed
so you can focus on your document or workbook.
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/Excel 2002, you can use the Show at Startup check
box on the New Document/New Workbook task pane to change this setting
However, when add-ins are present, task pane fails
to display 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 present.
Unfortunately, Microsoft’s registry hack prevents the task pane from closing
as intended when you open or create a file!
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
file; others do not want it to appear when the application starts, and there
are those who want to see as little of it as possible.
Behavior When the Task Pane Controller is Present
1 - Task Pane Controller for Word
The Task Pane Controller add-in was designed to help you control the task
pane without the need to manually hack the Registry, write a macro to force
the task pane to display, 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 the application starts and whether the task pane disappears automatically
when you open or create a new document/workbook.
I would like to extend a special thanks to the original creator of the controller,
Word MVP Bill Coan. It was his insight and creative
talent that conquered the first task pane issues for Word. He graciously
allowed me to build on his initial project when I suggested the Task Pane
Controller be extended to include an available Registry hack and incorporate
a user interface for the Task Pane Controller.
Thank you Bill for your continued advice and for
making this joint effort such a rewarding experience!