Making Text Boxes Appear in a Printout

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 8, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Cathy has a document that includes text boxes that (amazingly enough) contain text. She can see them on her screen, but if she does a print preview or actually prints the document, the text boxes do not appear. Cathy wonders why this happens and how she can see the text boxes in her printout.

When you add a text box to your document, that text box is placed on what Microsoft calls a drawing layer. This simply means it is handled differently than the regular text in your document, and you can control whether it is printed or not. The drawing layer contains not just text boxes, but other shapes you may add to your document. It can also contain images (pictures) that are not placed in the document as inline images.

To make sure that items on the drawing layer print, 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 side of the dialog box, click Display.
  3. Make sure the Print Drawings Created in Word check box is selected.
  4. Click on OK.

Now, you should be able to print as normal and the text boxes (and other items) should be included in your 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 (12736) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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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