Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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: Controlling Field Shading.

Controlling Field Shading

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 3, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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Normally, when you either select a field or move the insertion point into a field, Word highlights the entire field or result of the field. This is done so you can tell you are working in a field. Sometimes you may find this distracting, however. If you want to change the way that Word handles field shading, 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 or a later version, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left of the dialog box click Advanced. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Advanced options of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. In the Show Document Content section, use the Field Shading drop-down list to specify how you want Word to handle field shading.
  5. Click OK.
  6. There are three options you can specify in step 3. The default is When Selected, which simply means that the field is shaded when it is selected, or you place the insertion point within the field. If you set the option to Never, then fields are never shaded, and (conversely) Always specifies that they are always shaded.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6107) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Controlling Field Shading.

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. ...

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What is seven more than 4?

2020-01-24 15:34:15

Sarah

I'm working with a document that clearly has style formatting that is making the crossreference fields *print* with a grey background. I can't find the style that contains that formatting though. If I remove all formatting, the field behaves normally (highlighted when selected, not highlighted when not selected, and not *printing* with a grey background. Any idea how to track down the style with the background setting?


2020-01-10 10:48:48

Mike

Hello,
is there a way to make text form fields shaded before the user fills them in, but unshaded after the user fills them in? (For on-screen viewing, not printing.)


2019-09-13 13:58:18

Robert Lalum

When you activate restricted permissions through the review pane the grey shading of the text form fields is removed. How do you get them back? The method above does not work on these type of fields.


2019-08-29 04:54:23

Hip

this does not seem to work on Word for MAC! :-(


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