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: Using Non-Printing Notes.

Using Non-Printing Notes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 10, 2015)

Word has a text attribute that has been around since the early days of Word for DOS. Hidden text is an attribute that allows you to enter information that you can easily suppress. You can turn it off so it does not appear on the screen, or you can turn it off so it doesn't print. To format text as hidden, follow these steps:
  1. Select the text you want hidden.
  2. Select Font from the Format menu. Word displays the Font dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Font tab of the Font dialog box.

  4. Click on the Hidden check box. (The check box isn't hidden; it is named "Hidden.")
  5. Click on OK.
Hidden text shows on the screen with a dotted underline. Unfortunately, this is easy to miss as you are reading the document on the screen, so it is a good idea to use a text color to highlight your hidden text. For instance, it could be green as well as hidden. In this way, your notes and messages are much harder to miss. You can even define a character or paragraph style that has the hidden attribute set, along with the color attribute to make the text more noticeable. You can control whether hidden text is displayed or printed. To control the display of hidden text on the screen, follow these steps:
  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the View tab is selected. (See Figure 2.)
  3. Figure 2. The View tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Clear the Hidden Text check box if you don't want it displayed, select the check box if you do want it displayed.
  5. Click on OK.
Controlling the printing of hidden text is an entirely different matter. Word allows you to control whether hidden text is printed with your document. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Select Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure Print tab is selected. (See Figure 3.)
  3. Figure 3. The Print tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Click on the Hidden Text check box. If the check box is selected Word prints hidden text.
  5. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1135) 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: Using Non-Printing Notes.

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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