Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Finding an Invisible Text Box.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 10, 2020)
When Vanessa prints her document, the printout includes a text box with text in it. When she looks at the document on-screen, she can't see the text box or the text it contains. Vanessa wants to delete the text box and wonders, since she can't see the text box, how she can find it to get rid of it.
There are a few things you should try. First, make sure you know the page on which the text box is located. This is a simple determination—just look at the printout to see on which page it occurs. You should make note of any surrounding text or elements that can help you to narrow down where to look in the document itself.
Now, make sure you are viewing your document in Print Layout view. If you are viewing your document in some other view, then you won't be able to see some of your graphics, including text boxes.
If the text box is still not visible, then you should check to make sure that the display of drawings hasn't been turned off. Follow these steps:
Figure 1. The advanced options of the Excel Options dialog box.
Provided you are still viewing the document in Print Layout view, you should be able to see any text boxes. If you still can't see it, it could be possible that the text box is formatted for no line and no fill and that the text it contains is formatted as hidden (and you have the display of hidden text turned off). If you suspect this is the case, try these general steps:
When you release the mouse button, any objects on the page should be selected. You can then delete them by simply pressing the Delete key.
Word also includes a great way to see the objects in your document. Follow these steps:
If you are still having problems locating and getting rid of the text box, you can try a macro approach. The following macro will step through all the shapes defined in the document and delete them. This is a great approach if the offending text box is the only shape in your entire document.
Sub Remove_Boxes() Dim aShape As Shape For Each aShape In ActiveDocument.Shapes If aShape.Type = msoTextBox Then aShape.Delete End If Next End Sub
Finally, if the text box still appears on the printout, it could be that you aren't dealing with a text box at all. It could be that what you are seeing is actually a comment box that is configured to print but not display on the screen. You can use the Object Browser (discussed in other issues of WordTips) to easily step through any comments that may be in your document.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10074) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Finding an Invisible Text Box.
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