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: Printing in White.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 17, 2021)
Word allows you to easily specify the color to use for different fonts in your document. You can even format text using a color of white. This effectively makes the text "disappear" because seeing white text on white paper is about as easy as seeing a white snowflake in a field of snow.
If you try to print text that is formatted as white, it won't print—Word effectively ignores it. Why? Because most printers (even color printers) use one, two, or four colors. None of these colors available in the printer, of course, is white—so it can't be printed. (In other words, you can't print using ink that you don't have.)
The answer, of course, is to get a special printer or ink cartridge that allows you to print using white ink. In that case, you still wouldn't format your text in Word using white. Instead, black text would actually print out as white, since you effectively replaced the black ink in the printer with the white ink cartridge.
Sound confusing? It can be. But it all boils down to the fact that formatting text as white has no effect on a printout, and you can't print in white unless your printer physically supports the use of white ink.
There is one other option to printing white text, but it would use a lot of ink. That is to use white paper, color the background of the document, and print that out. This means you'd actually be using the ink cartridge to produce the color on the paper (with a white border, of course, since the printer can't print all the way to the edge of the paper).
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (848) 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: Printing in White.
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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.