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 Index Field Codes.

Printing Index Field Codes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 23, 2013)

Jim is creating an index for his document, which obviously involves inserting XE field codes throughout the document. He wonders if there is a way to print text that includes the XE codes on the printed pages. Even with "print field codes instead of their values" turned on, those codes, which do display on-screen, do not show when he prints a page of text. Printing them would be a quick and valuable way for Jim to proof his document for the completeness and accuracy of indexing.

The reason you cannot see the XE codes on your printouts is because they are formatted, automatically by Word, as hidden text. Take a look at the codes, as they are visible on the screen. You should see that there is a small, dotted underline under the field code. This indicates that the hidden attribute is applied.

Word allows you to control the printing and viewing of hidden text independent of each other. Thus, you can see the XE codes on the screen, but unless you enable the printing of hidden text, you won't be able to see them on a printout. Here's how to turn on the printing of hidden text:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Print tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Print tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Hidden Text check box is selected.
  5. Click on OK.

That's it; if you now print your document with fields codes turned on, you should see the XE field codes on the printout.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12490) 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 Index Field Codes.

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. ...


Sorting Files

The Open dialog box allows you to sort the files it presents to you. How you do the sorting depends on the version of ...

Discover More

Creating a TOC that Includes Specific Styles

Want to create a special TOC that contains different elements of your document? It's easy to do if you consistently use ...

Discover More

Developing Reciprocal Conversion Formulas

When converting between measurement systems, you might want to use two cells for each type of measurement. Make a change ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (menu)

Understanding Default DATE Field Formatting

The DATE field is one of the most commonly used fields for placing dynamic information in your document. It is helpful to ...

Discover More

Inserting the User's Name

Word keeps track of a name for the person using the program. If you want to add this person's name into the document, ...

Discover More

Inserting the User's Initials

One of the pieces of information tracked by Word are your name and initials. You can insert your initials by using the ...

Discover More

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

View most recent newsletter.


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 less than 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

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

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.