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I am using MS Word Professional Plus and trying to shade the content control fields, so that users of the form can easily identify the fields. I have gone under options, advanced setting and selected display: always - and have selected the shading button in legacy tools, but this does not seem to be working. It appears to work for the legacy fields. Does anyone know how to have shading of the content control fields always display in this version of Word?

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Have you ensured "Design Mode" is selected under the 'Developer' tab. Position your pointer where you want to create a content control > go to Developer tab > choose "Design Mode" > choose the type of content controls. It works for me.

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  • Thank you, but yes. Design mode is on. Were you able to see the shading with the calendar picker that you see on your screenshot, as well? I'm not able to. Again, this is MS Word 2010 Professional Plus. I'm wondering if there is some kind of bug with this version and shading for content controls.
    – Lisa
    Dec 10 '14 at 13:56
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Highlight the content control that you want to shade. Then, in the developer tab follow these steps.

Design Mode > Properties > Use a style to format contents > New Style > Format > Border > Shading > then set Fill and/or Style and Color

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It appears that the shading is only visible when the control is selected or you hover over it. This is a different behavior from the legacy controls which are always dark gray no matter if you hover or not.

You do have the option to modify the Place Holder style though which is used in the content control for it's place holder text. Unfortunately, it's a text level formatting style so you can only change the font and colour, though a combination of these two can give you a clearly identifiable control. (Use the style inspector to view and edit the style).

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If you go into Design mode - highlight the text that is displayed in your Control and then go Controls menu an select the brief case with the wrench icon

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then

enter image description here

This will create the gray shaded area that will be cleared once a user enters a field.

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