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

Changing Fonts in Multiple Workbooks

If you need to change fonts used in a lot of different workbooks, the task can be daunting, if you need to do it manually. ...

Discover More

Pasting Leading Zeroes

Paste information into a worksheet, and you may be surprised to see leading zeroes disappear before your eyes. Here's how to ...

Discover More

Using the GotoButton Field

Need to jump from one place in your document to another? One way to do this is through the user of the GotoButton field, ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

MORE WORDTIPS (RIBBON)

Duplex by Default

Many printers these days have the capability to print on both sides of a piece of paper. You may want Word to use this ...

Discover More

Understanding Background Printing

We click the button to print our document and seldom think of what is happening behind the scenes. Word prints documents, by ...

Discover More

Printing Show/Hide Characters

Non-printing characters are very handy to view when editing a document. But what if you want those characters to no longer be ...

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 for this tip:

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.

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.

Links and Sharing
Share