Microsoft Word has a feature with which you can hide text so that it does not appear in the document. If you do not want to completely remove the text, it is best to hide it.
So why hide text in a Word document at all? Well, one reason might be that you want to print two different versions of the same document, but you don’t want to create two separate files. In this case, you can hide some text, print the file, and then print the document again, but choose to print the hidden text in the print options dialog box.
In this article, I will show you how to hide text in Word, how to view hidden text and how to hide text, and how to prevent someone else from editing hidden text. Note that you can hide text in Office for Mac in exactly the same way as shown below.
Hide text in Word 2007, 2010 and 2013
First, open any document you may have that has a fair amount of text in it. Here is a sample document that I am using for illustrative purposes.
Select the text you want to hide, then right-click it and choose Font.
In the Font dialog box, you’ll see a Hidden checkbox under Effects. Go ahead and check this box.
Press OK and POOF, your text is gone! All I have left is one paragraph without any trace of another paragraph. The paragraph still exists, and now that it is hidden some interesting questions arise.
The first question that popped into my head was: what happens if I start typing in an empty area that previously contained text? Well, I went ahead and tested this by typing another paragraph where the hidden text used to be.
So what happened? Well, I’ll explain this in the next section when I talk about viewing hidden text in Word.
View hidden text in Word
Okay, so how do we get the hidden text back to display the document again? We basically follow the same procedure as for hiding text. Press CTRL + A to select everything in the document, right-click any selection and select Font again. This time, you will see that the Hidden checkbox is unchecked, but instead is completely green.
This means that some of the selected text is hidden and some is visible. Clicking on it once will change it to a checkmark, which means that all text in the document will be hidden, and clicking on it again will uncheck it, that is, no text in the document should be hidden.
The hidden text is now visible, but as you can see it is in a slightly different location. It’s now under the paragraph I typed when the text was hidden. So instead of overwriting it, it is simply pushed out. If you want the text to stay in a specific place, you can click the Show / Hide Paragraph Markers button and it will show you the hidden text with a special dashed line.
Then you can start a new paragraph at the location you want and then click the button to hide the text again. Now that you know how to hide and show hidden text, let’s talk about how to print it out.
Print hidden text in Word
To print hidden text in Word, go to the options section of the Print dialog box. When you go to the File menu and then Print, click Page Setup at the bottom.
In the Page Setup dialog box, click the Paper tab, and then click Print Properties.
The Word Options dialog box opens with the Display tab already selected. Here you will see a hidden “Print” text box under “Print Options”.
You can also access this dialog box by clicking File, then Options, and then clicking the Display tab. This setting is global, so you’ll have to go back and uncheck the box later if you don’t want to print hidden text for another document.
So now that we know how to hide and show text, maybe you also want to prevent others from editing the hidden text? Well, that is also possible, as shown below.
Protect your Word document
Unfortunately, you can’t completely hide hidden text in Word. If you send the document to someone with hidden text, they will be able to view it if they know any of the above procedures. However, you can prevent someone from editing the text.
Protecting the document will prevent anyone from making changes to any text. This will allow users to view the document but not make any changes.
Go to the Browse tab and click Protect Document or Restrict Editing, depending on your version of Office.
Select the Limit formatting to style selection box and click the Settings button.
In the Formatting Restrictions dialog box, select the checkbox again and click No so that nothing can be changed in terms of formatting and style.
Click OK and you will receive a pop-up message asking if you want to remove some of the invalid formatting styles. Be sure to click NO. If you click Yes, it will remove the hidden attribute from the hidden text and it will become visible again.
Then select the Allow only this type of editing in document check box and leave it set to Unchanged (read-only).
In the “Exceptions” section, you don’t have to check all the boxes. Finally, click the “Yes, start enforcing protection” button and enter the password to protect your Word document. Try to make the password more than 8 characters long, especially if you’re using an earlier version of Office.
Although other users can view the hidden text, none of the text in the document can be edited. If you want completely hidden text, you really have to remove it from the document. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to leave comments. Enjoy!