Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Unwanted Graph Paper Effect.

Unwanted Graph Paper Effect

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 29, 2018)

1

Trevor noted that two of the systems at his office just recently exhibited the same strange behavior. When they start a new session with Word, it opens up with a "graph paper" effect on the screen. He wonders why this would this happen, and how they can turn it off.

There are a couple of possible reasons why this has occurred. The most likely reason is that the drawing grid has been turned on. Follow these steps to turn it off:

  1. Make sure the Drawing toolbar is displayed.
  2. Click on the Draw tool on the toolbar. Word displays the Draw menu.
  3. Select the Grid option from the Draw menu. If you are using Word 97, the Snap to Grid dialog box is displayed. If you are using Word 2000 or later, the Drawing Grid dialog box is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Drawing Grid dialog box.

  5. Clear the Display Gridlines on Screen check box. (In Word 97, clear the Snap Objects to Grid check box.)
  6. Click on OK.

If you follow these steps and find that the drawing grid was not turned on to begin with, then the problem could be related to a background image being set on the system. You can get rid of any background image by following these steps:

  1. Choose Background from the Format menu. Word displays a palette of options.
  2. Click No Fill.

If the graph paper effect is still visible, get out of Word and use Windows' tools to find the Normal.dot file. Rename it to something else (such as OldNormal.dot) and then restart Word. If the problem goes away, then you know that it is due to some setting stored in your Normal.dot file. This can help you to track down the culprit, or you could simply let Word rebuild a new Normal.dot template file for you.

Finally, it could be that you have some third-party add-on installed that is causing the effect. Check your add-ons and if you see any there, turn them off and restart Word.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (524) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Unwanted Graph Paper Effect.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Resetting to Factory Defaults for Bulleted Lists

If you use bulleted lists a lot in your documents, you might notice that the formats have changed over time. Resetting ...

Discover More

Copying Formatting

Excel provides a couple of different ways to copy formatting from one cell to another. Perhaps the easiest way is to use ...

Discover More

The Changing Relationship of WordArt and Text Boxes

Two of the long-time features in Word are text boxes and WordArt. You might not think these two are related, but they are ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Getting Rid of Wizards and Templates

Templates and wizards are used rather extensively in Word to either process a document or define how that document is to ...

Discover More

Changing the Comment Color

If you don't like the default color used for comments in a document, you can't change them in Word. You can, however, ...

Discover More

An Unruly Ruler

Does the ruler in Word seem to have a mind of its own? If you have problems understanding why the ruler behaves as it ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five minus 0?

2018-11-03 16:21:31

Charles

Great tip, except... where is the "drawing toolbar"?


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.