Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 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: Using Non-Printing Notes.

Using Non-Printing Notes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 24, 2019)

2

Word has a text attribute that has been around since the early days of Word for DOS. Hidden text is an attribute that allows you to enter information that you can easily suppress. You can turn it off so it does not appear on the screen, or you can turn it off, so it doesn't print. To format text as hidden, follow these steps:

  1. Select the text you want hidden.
  2. Press Ctrl+D. Word displays the Font dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Font tab of the Font dialog box.

  4. Click on the Hidden check box. (The check box isn't hidden; it is named "Hidden.")
  5. Click on OK.

Hidden text shows on the screen with a dotted underline. Unfortunately, this is easy to miss as you are reading the document on the screen, so it is a good idea to use a text color to highlight your hidden text. For instance, it could be green as well as hidden. In this way, your notes and messages are much harder to miss. You can even define a character or paragraph style that has the hidden attribute set, along with the color attribute to make the text more noticeable.

You can control whether hidden text is displayed or printed by following 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 side of the screen, click Display. (See Figure 2.)
  3. Figure 2. The Display options of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Clear the Hidden Text check box if you don't want it displayed, select the check box if you do want it displayed. (If you don't want Hidden text displayed, make sure that Show All Formatting Marks is not checked. When it is checked, Hidden text is displayed as part of the "All" designation.)
  5. Clear the Print Hidden Text check box if you don't want it printed, select the check box if you do want it printed.
  6. Click on OK.

You should note that since there are two separate controls for Hidden text—one for screen display and one for printing. This means that you can control display and printing of the text independently from each other.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8056) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Using Non-Printing Notes.

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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Comments

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What is one more than 3?

2020-04-24 18:56:00

Cindy

Many thanks! This was exactly what I was looking for and it works perfectly in 2019. I appreciate you taking the time for clarity on newer versions.


2019-08-24 11:17:49

Edward Hill

Follow up on hidden notes. It seems that hidden notes is a good way for me to create a record of the reason for a provision being in or out of a document. Is it possible for a recipient to reverse the hiding process and see the text of the notes? How can that result be avoided?


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