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 May 1, 2015)

2

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

Conditional Processing During a Mail Merge

The Mail Merge capabilities can appear limited at first glance. One thing that is often overlooked (and which makes the ...

Discover More

Inserting a Sound File in Your Worksheet

Some worksheets are better understood through the spoken word or with musical accompaniment. Sound files can be easily ...

Discover More

Converting to Hyperlinks in a Shared Workbook

When you enter a URL or e-mail address in a worksheet, Excel usually converts it to a clickable hyperlink. This doesn't ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Increasing the Size of the Draft Font

When looking at your document in Draft view, you may want Word to use a larger font than what it normally does. Here's how ...

Discover More

Modifying Behavior of the Open Dialog Box

The Open dialog box is one that few of us think about, but you can control how it behaves with a little bit of macro coding. ...

Discover More

Removing Author Information

Word automatically stores lots of author-related information within a document. Because this data is stored in several ...

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. 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 4 + 2?

2014-08-05 11:40:46

a

Actually, for me I had to go to the "view" tab, and then go under "show" on the bottom of the toolbar and unlick "Gridlines."


2012-02-10 11:56:25

Charlotte

Thanks Allen - great tip. Easy when you think about it, but that graphing effect has annoyed me for a while. Much better now :-)


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.