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: Hiding and Displaying Hidden Text.

Hiding and Displaying Hidden Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 9, 2020)


Hidden text is text that has the hidden attribute applied. In Word, hidden is a text attribute just like italics or bold. You can control whether hidden text is displayed or printed. When the display of hidden text is turned off, the text is not deleted, its display is simply suppressed—it is not shown. When you later display hidden text, it will all be displayed again.

To turn off the display of hidden text on the screen, 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. Click Display at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The display options in the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Click the Hidden Text check box. Make sure it is empty.
  5. Click on OK.

Note that if the Show All Formatting Marks check box is selected in the Word Options dialog box, it doesn't really matter whether the Hidden Text check box is selected or not (step 3). The reason is that if the Show All Formatting Marks check box is selected, then all the check boxes that appear just above it (in the "Always Show These Formatting Marks On the Screen" section) are displayed.

After hidden text is hidden, you can later display it by following the same steps, but make sure the Hidden Text check box (step 3) is selected. (Same caveat about the Show All Formatting Marks check box applies.)

You can also control the display of hidden text (along with all other non-printing characters) by clicking on the Home tab of the ribbon, in the Paragraph group. (This is the tool that contains the paragraph symbol; it looks like a backwards P and is technically called a pilcrow.) This tool is directly attached to the Show All Formatting Marks option in the Word Options dialog box; it toggles the setting of the check box.

Turning off the display of hidden text presents a danger that you need to be aware of, however. When you turn it off, it doesn't show up at all on your screen. This makes it very easy to delete hidden text without even realizing it. This is especially true if you delete larger blocks of text, such as entire paragraphs.

The best way to guard against this is to make sure hidden text is always displayed when you are developing or editing your document. In this way you can be certain you won't inadvertently delete hidden text.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8998) 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: Hiding and Displaying Hidden Text.

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 one less than 2?

2016-10-04 10:36:53


Great help, easy to follow. Thanks!

2016-08-31 23:55:40

Richard Katilavas

Suddenly in Word 2016 the hypertext links toggle open when the URL or e-mail address is typed and cannot be closed?

Tried getting help and 'smart lookup' without success - nothing found.

Several versions ago this was a problem which sometimes occurred, but then it was simply a matter of reversing the commands to "toggle hyperlink on/toggle hyperlink off"if I remember correctly.

Even the support window which opens insists on adding the text "mailto:" to the text for the hyperlink email address.

Is this a known glitch, or is there a workaround or patch I missed?


2016-03-09 05:53:23

caroline batchelder

Thankyou, Paul!

2016-03-08 09:41:44

Paul Franklin Stregevsky

@caroline batchelder, what a great question! I've found two discussion threads where commenters have posted advice:
1. See Answer 2 under "How to leave space for hidden text in Microsoft Word" at .
2. See the sole answer under "How do I hide text (Word) but keep spacing as if text is there?" at .

2016-03-07 20:03:49

caroline batchelder

When I turn off the display of hidden text, the document reformats as if nothing was there, rather than leaving a blank space. this messes up the test I am writing completely, which I want to save as a pdf without displaying the hidden text. How can I prevent this?
Thanks for your help!

2015-11-23 13:19:07


I accidently hid a few paragraphs and I have learned to print it; however, I have to go in and use your tips to print it, otherwise it is still hidden when it is printed. Originally, I created tis document on my 2000 PC (still have)and I think that is when I ACCIDENTLY HID THE TEXT. I used a flash drive to put it on my 8.1 lap top. Now I want to share the document but will not reveal the hidden text in the document when printed at THE OTHER END. Will I now have to retype the whole document?

2015-10-26 18:54:41


Dear Allen,

I have some hidden text in my word resume and am unable to locate the page you mentioned due to using a Japanese language Word program.

Is it possible for me to send my resume to you to look at it?

I would be willing to pay a fee to get my resume up and working correctly.


Eric Lenhardt

2015-04-22 07:49:34

Ken Endacott

You only need one macro and one button on the toolbar to toggle the showing or hiding of hidden text. The macro is:

Sub ToggleShowHiddenText()
ActiveWindow.View.ShowHiddenText = Not ActiveWindow.View.ShowHiddenText
End Sub

2015-04-21 18:32:59


I use MS Word 2010, text appears hidden when I receive documents from Word 2007. Is this a conversion issue since my clients use the early version? Would like to let them know.

I notice when I enable editing, hidden text appears. To display all hidden text so file comes to me correctly should this tip be done in word 2007 (prior to me receiving) or will I need to do in word 2010?

After text has been displayed will it remain if I send back to 2007?

2015-04-14 08:26:10


This may help both Vadim and Lucie - You can record macros for showing and hiding hidden text. Start with File/Options/Display/Hidden Text unchecked. In the View tab, select Macros/Record Macro... Name the first macro something like "ShowHidden". (Note that you can't have any spaces in a macro name.) Click the "Button" button and then Add the macro to your toolbar. You can modify the icon and the name of the macro button here by clicking Modify. Once you click OK, you're recording. Go to File/Options/Display and click the Hidden Text checkbox. Then go to View/Macros and select Stop Recording. Now you should see the macro in the toolbar at the very top of the screen. Repeat this process for a macro that you name something like "HideHidden" in which you deselect the Hidden checkbox. Now you have one button that turns hidden text on, and another that turns it off. For a one-button way to format text as hidden, go to File/Options/Customize Ribbon, on the left side in the "Choose Commands from" box select "Commands Not in the Ribbon". Then scroll down and select "Hidden". When you try to Add it, you will be prompted to create a new group. I select 'Home' then click the New Group button at the bottom. Then click Add in the middle. Click OK, and you get a green circle icon in your Home menu bar that toggles the Hidden formatting on and off for any selected text.

2015-02-26 09:51:48


Ok...try this one on: I clicked on the File Tab and selected Options / Display and de-selected the Hidden Text checkbox and the hidden text was "hidden" ONLY for the session. Even though I saved the document without the hidden text, each time I open it, the hidden text is back and I have to perform the operation each time I work with the document....and, no the Show all formatting checkbox is not selected. Can anybody help with this issue?

2014-05-26 04:01:28


Is there are posibility to format it as in MS excel, so one can show/hide the formatted text with only one click?

2014-05-22 19:20:31

Thomas Redd

Anything you can do with button clicks you can do with one click on the quick access bar. Simply get to what you want to do and right click. then click add to quick access bar. Then you can single click the item in the quick access bar (the little menu bar at the top left, and you have what you would have gone to with your three clicks.

2014-05-21 11:43:37

T. van Ellen

Is het possible to adda a button to the ribbon, which will convert selected text to hidden/displayed. Now I do it via the menu, which takes 3 clicks - I'd like to reduce that to 1
thanks and regards,

T. van Ellen

2014-03-05 01:16:42

Esme Greenfield

I need formatting marks to permanently show in every document I work with. No matter how often I tick all the relevant blocks in File > Options > Display, Word 2010 seems to ignore this and constantly unticks Paragraph marks and Spaces at will. Is there a way of fixing this without using a macro? I am useless at recording macros and they anyway seem to disappear.

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