Word: Show those fields

April 19, 2010

When I’m working on a document with a lot of fields, I want to see exactly what’s a field and what isn’t. Did the author manually type Figure 3 or is it a field? You can’t tell just by looking at the text — unless you have field shading turned on, in which case all fields are shown with a gray background.

Is ‘Figure 3’ a field or not? If field shading is off, you can’t tell.

With field shading turned on, it’s absolutely clear that ‘Figure 3’ is a field.

To turn on field shading

Word 2003:

  1. Go to Tools > Options on the menu.
  2. On the View tab, change the selection for Field Shading to Always.
  3. Click OK.

Word 2007:

  1. Click the Office button (top left corner), then Word Options.
  2. Click Advanced.
  3. Go to the Show document content section.
  4. Change the selection for Field Shading to Always.
  5. Click OK.

Word 2010:

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Options.
  3. Click Advanced.
  4. Go to the Show document content section.
  5. Change the selection for Field Shading to Always.
  6. Click OK.

To turn off field shading, repeat the relevant steps above, but select Never from the Field Shading drop-down box.


  1. […] Show field shading […]

  2. […] walked Bill through the steps, and also got him to turn on field shading so he would always know when any apparent text was actually a […]

  3. *THANK YOU* I just upgraded to Word 2010 and I have been going nuts trying to figure out how to fix this (field shading always must have been the default option in every other version of Word I’ve had?)

  4. […] Word before now! Surprisingly,  showing bookmarks is NOT part of showing all formatting marks or fields — it’s a separate […]

  5. in Word 2010 to toggle field shading it’s File >> Options >> Advanced >> Show Document >> Field Shading, default should be “When selected” other options are “never” and “always”.

  6. great tips, many thanks.

  7. […] caption numbers are fields, so I suggest you turn on Field Shading first so you can see them […]

  8. I have a directory of 500+ Word docs, version 2007. They have embedded URLs that point to a URL domain that is being sunset. I wrote a Word macro to search the entire directory, display the field codes, update the URL, hide field codes, save/close, repeat with next document. HOWEVER, after some validation, I noticed that some docs still show the field codes after the macro runs, so now i have a mixture of documents with field codes showing / field codes not showing. Because this feature is a toggle, I’m at a loss. Here is the macro to show / hide field codes. I need a command that hides them, regardless of whether or not they are currently showing.

    Sub FieldCodeShowHide()

    ‘ FieldCodeShowHide Macro

    ActiveWindow.View.ShowFieldCodes = Not ActiveWindow.View.ShowFieldCodes
    End Sub

  9. Hi Rick

    See if this one works: ActiveWindow.View.ShowFieldCodes = False

    I can’t help you more than that as macros are NOT my forte. Try the Microsoft Word forums if this doesn’t work: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/word


  10. Excellent example of effective technical writing that concisely answers a question; thanks!

  11. Does anyone know how to print the document AND show the gray fields too? There are multitudes of ways to turn it off/not print it but I want to print it and have the gray fields show. Thanks!

  12. I tried various options – nothing worked, as you’ve found. Perhaps try asking your question on the Microsoft forum: http://answers.microsoft.com/ — filter by your version of Office, then Word. If you get an answer, I’d appreciate it if you could post it back here too.


  13. Thanks, Rhonda! I will try that!

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