How to inhibit highlighting while you print from Word

Highlighting Word text can be helpful, but those same highlights are pretty ugly on the printed page. Fortunately, you can hide them while you print the document.

While working, I use Word's highlighting tool a lot. It's a great way to draw attention to spots that need more attention—later. As useful as the highlights are on screen, they're a nuisance on a printed copy. Highlights, printed, totally lose their usefulness. Unfortunately, there's no print setting that inhibits the highlights while you print and removing highlights just to print would be ridiculously inefficient—wouldn't it?

Fortunately, there's a quick solution to this dilemma. You can temporarily inhibit the highlights without actually removing them, as follows:

Word 2003

  1. From the Tools menu, choose Options.
  2. Click the View tab.
  3. Clear the Highlight option.
  4. Click OK.
Word 2007 and 2010

  1. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then click the Word Options button. In Word 2010, click the File tab, and then click Options under Help.
  2. Click Display.
  3. Clear the Show Lighter Marks in the Page Display Options section.
  4. Click OK.

Word will hide all highlights, both on screen and in any print outs. While the highlights are hidden, print the document. When you're done, re-display the highlights.  If you do this often, consider creating a macro to toggle between the two states.


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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