Printing Images Based on Hidden Text Setting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 28, 2015)

David is a teacher and he uses Word to create tests and answer sheets. He uses a single document, formatting answers as Hidden text. This way, if he prints with Hidden text turned off he has the test and if he prints with Hidden text turned on he has the test and answers. David needs a way to include two images in the document, one on top of the other. That's not the puzzling part, though. He needs one of those images to print if he's printing with Hidden text turned on and the other to print if he's printing with Hidden text turned off.

There are actually a couple of ways you can approach this problem. The first way involves the use of inline images, which can be formatted just like text. This means they can be formatted as Hidden. Assume, for the sake of this example, that you have two images, A and B. You want image A to be printed when you print without Hidden text, and you want B to be printed when you print including Hidden text. Follow these general steps:

  1. Add image A as an inline picture.
  2. Add image B below or next to it, also as an inline picture.
  3. Select image B and format it as Hidden. (Mark it as Hidden the same way you do your other Hidden text.)
  4. Set image B's wrapping to "In front of text."
  5. Move image B to above or in front of image A.

Now the correct images will print depending on whether you print with Hidden text displayed or not. If you want, you could also make image A floating; it doesn't need to be inline. Only image B must be inline, as it is only inline images that can be formatted as Hidden. In addition, image B should be opaque, meaning it should not have any transparent areas, and it should be the same size as image A. If image B does have transparent images or if it is smaller than image A, then it won't fully obscure image A when it is printed.

The other option is to create a macro that you run whenever you want to print your document. The macro can check the setting of the PrintHiddenText property and, based on the setting, either display or hide the appropriate images. Here's a quick example:

Sub PrintMyDoc()
    If Application.Options.PrintHiddenText = True Then
        ActiveDocument.Shapes(1).Visible = msoTrue
        ActiveDocument.Shapes(2).Visible = msoFalse
    Else
        ActiveDocument.Shapes(1).Visible = msoFalse
        ActiveDocument.Shapes(2).Visible = msoTrue
    End If
End Sub

In this macro, the first shape in the Shapes collection is set to Visible (and thus will be printed) if you are printing Hidden text. If the PrintHiddenText property is False, then the second shape is made visible and will thus be printed.

The key to using this macro approach is that you must use regular shapes (floating images); you can't use InlineShapes, as those cannot have the Visible property set.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13375) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013.

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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