A coworker was using MSWord and sent a document on to our boss, who couldn't see particular blocks of text (but wasn't aware they existed). The co-worker sent the file to me to diagnose, and I couldn't see the text either in any mode from the view ribbon. Further, when he copied and pasted into a new word document, the issue was still present. If he pasted into notepad, the text was not present at all. When he printed the document, those text blocks were not present either.

If I had gone to File->Options->Display->Always show these formatting marks on the screen->Hidden text, I would have been able to see the text, but that does not appear to be a default checked setting, as of four MSWord copies examined in our group, his was the only that had that setting checked.

In the source xml, I could see the missing text. I was able to edit the source and remove a series of <w:vanish/> tags above each of the missing paragraphs, save the file, verify the text was back and send it to all concerned.

So, my question is how the heck did w:vanish get applied to those paragraphs? I don't see any context right-click menu to hide text in MSWord, so how did the vanish tag appear? Is there a way to block MSWord from ever inserting this tag? Is there a way to auto-repair and remove these <w:vanish/> tags from MSWord docs, rather than having to rename the .docx as a .zip, then find word\document.xml, do a search-and-replace, and rename it back to .docx?


Text is hidden by using a setting in the Font dialog box. An easy way to make all the hidden text in a document visible is to press Ctrl+A, and then, on the Home tab, click the dialog box launcher in the lower-right corner of the Font group. If any of the text in your document is currently hidden, the Hidden check box under Effects in the Font dialog box will be partially selected (that is, it will be filled with a solid square instead of a check mark), as shown here.

Font dialog box

Select the check box once to change the solid square to a check mark, and then select it again to remove the check mark. After you click OK, there should be no longer be any hidden text in the document.

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