Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Hiding Graphics.

Hiding Graphics

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 29, 2015)

If you are preparing documents that contain graphics, you may want to print the graphics on one version of the document, but not print them on another. For example, you might be preparing a test for students, and the test requires them to draw a graph. You would want the printout of the student version of the test to leave space for drawing a graph, but the printout of the answer sheet should include the graphic showing how the students should answer.

There are many ways you can go about approaching this task. One method is to create two versions of the same document—one with the answers and one without. This approach takes quite a bit of "synchronizing" to make sure it works, however. If you forget to make a change in both documents, they can quickly get out of sync.

To overcome this problem you will want to create a single file that contains the answers. Assuming the answers are graphic files, the easiest way is to print the student version using draft mode. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and Word 2013, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box, click Advanced.
  3. Scroll through the options available until you display the Print section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Advanced tab of the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Make sure the Use Draft Quality check box is selected.
  6. Click on OK.
  7. Print your document, as normal.

Word prints the document very quickly, leaving blank space where graphics would normally appear. Obviously this is an either/or situation: either you print the graphics or you don't. If you have some graphics you want to appear in the document and others you don't, this solution will not work.

In this instance (some graphics need to print, others don't) you will need to resort to individual formatting of the graphics you don't want to print on the student version. One approach is to select the graphic and adjust its brightness to its highest level. This "washes out" the graphic to the point that it appears completely white when printed.

Another approach is to use hidden text. The Hidden attribute can be applied to both graphics and text, which means you can use hidden text for all your answers. If you print with hidden text turned on, then you are creating an answer sheet; with it turned, off you are printing a student test. To work with the hidden text method, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare your complete test, including answers.
  2. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and Word 2013, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  3. At the left side of the dialog box, click Display. (See Figure 2.)
  4. Figure 2. The Display tab of the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Make sure the Hidden Text check box is selected.
  6. Make sure the Print Hidden Text check box is cleared.
  7. Click on OK.
  8. Highlight the text or graphics that represent the answers.
  9. Press Ctrl+Shift+H. The text or graphic is displayed with a dotted underline.
  10. Repeat steps 7 and 8 for each answer.
  11. Print your document, as normal. This is your student test.
  12. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and Word 2013, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  13. At the left side of the dialog box, click Display.
  14. Make sure the Print Hidden Text check box is selected.
  15. Click on OK.
  16. Print your document, as normal. This is your answer sheet.

There is one thing you may need to do when using this approach. If the student test is "collapsed" (meaning there is no room left for them to draw their answers), you may need to play with the line spacing for each question. You can do this by using the options in the Paragraph group on the Home tab of the ribbon. This may, of course, take a bit of trial and error to get the desired effect.

Yet another option you can use is to take advantage of an intrinsic difference in how Word handles inline graphics as opposed to floating graphics. Say you had two graphics files—one for the student test and the other for the answer sheet. Put your test document together by following these guidelines:

  1. Type the text of your test document.
  2. If there are any graphics you want included on the student test, insert them as inline graphics.
  3. If there are any graphics you want included only on the answer sheet, insert them as "floating" graphics.

When you are ready to print your tests, use the following steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and Word 2013, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box, click Display.
  3. Clear the Print Drawings Created in Word check box.
  4. Click on OK.
  5. Print your document as normal. This is your student test.
  6. Click the Office button, then click Word Options. Word displays the Word Options dialog box.
  7. At the left side of the dialog box, click Display.
  8. Make sure the Print Drawings Created in Word check box is selected.
  9. Click on OK.
  10. Print your document, as normal. This is your answer sheet.

The setting of the Print Drawings Created in Word check box controls, essentially, whether floating graphics are printed or not. These types of graphics are inserted not in the midst of your text, but "over" your text, on what Microsoft calls the drawing layer. Thus, when the check box is cleared, the drawing layer is ignored in the printout.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6020) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Hiding Graphics.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Canceling a Command

Tired of waiting for a command to finish running? You can use the same shortcut to cancel a command that you use to dismiss ...

Discover More

Using AutoSave in Excel

It is a good precaution to periodically save your work. That way, if you have an unforeseen problem with your computer, you ...

Discover More

Pulling Formulas from a Worksheet

The formulas in your worksheet can be displayed (instead of formula results) by a simple configuration change. You can then ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Printing Document Properties

Word maintains quite a bit of information about a document in a special collection of items called "properties." You can ...

Discover More

Adding a Diagonal Watermark with a PostScript Printer

If you have a printer that understands PostScript, you can add your own watermark to each printed page. This tip discloses ...

Discover More

Printing Copy Numbers

Copy 1, Copy 2, Copy 3... Do you want to mark your printouts so that they are numbered? Here's how you can do it.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight minus 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.