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Hidden text positioning and formatting tricks in Word

Word is very clever dealing with Hidden text, perhaps a bit too clever at times. Here’s some tricks for positioning and formatting with Hidden text.

Students quiz (left) and Teachers version (right) from the same document. The answer text is hidden in the student version but there’s still space for their answers.

Leaving space where hidden text is

Other times you want the empty space where the hidden text is. The quiz example above needs space for the students to write in answers.  Without it, the answers and the space for them disappears!

Quiz with entire answer line hidden, instead of just hiding answer text (as above)

The trick is selecting and hiding the answer text but NOT the final paragraph mark (use Show All to see the paragraph mark).

The text is hidden but the paragraph mark at the end is not. That means the vertical paragraph space will always be there – with or without visible text.

Word makes that difficult.  If you select most of a line but not the paragraph mark and make the text Hidden, Word makes the whole paragraph Hidden anyway! (at least that’s the behavior in Word for Windows). If that happens, use Show All to reveal with pilcrow/paragraph mark, carefully select the paragraph mark, then unhide from the Font dialog or Ctrl + Shift + H.

If you’re using Styles, apply a Character Style (or linked style) to the answer text, leaving the paragraph mark unhidden.

More Vertical Space Trick

To make more vertical space for handwritten answers, select the paragraph mark only and increase the font size.

Here the hidden text is 26pt but the paragraph mark is 36pt.  It could be much larger depending on how much vertical space you need.

See Hidden Text, Images and objects in Word

Find and Remove Hidden Text in Word

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