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: Printing Index Field Codes.

Printing Index Field Codes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 31, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Jim is creating an index for his document, which obviously involves inserting XE field codes throughout the document. He wonders if there is a way to print text that includes the XE codes on the printed pages. Even with "print field codes instead of their values" turned on, those codes, which do display on-screen, do not show when he prints a page of text. Printing them would be a quick and valuable way for Jim to proof his document for the completeness and accuracy of indexing.

The reason you cannot see the XE codes on your printouts is because they are formatted, automatically by Word, as hidden text. Take a look at the codes, as they are visible on the screen. You should see that there is a small, dotted underline under the field code. This indicates that the hidden attribute is applied.

Word allows you to control the printing and viewing of hidden text independent of each other. Thus, you can see the XE codes on the screen, but unless you enable the printing of hidden text, you won't be able to see them on a printout. Here's how to turn on the printing of hidden text:

  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 dialog box, click Display. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Display tab of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Print Hidden Text check box is selected.
  5. Click on OK.

That's it; if you now print your document with field codes turned on, you should see the XE field codes on 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 (12491) 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: Printing Index Field Codes.

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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