Hidden text is interfering with heading vertical alignment

Copper Contributor

Hello MVPs.

I've been directed here by Microsoft support (Case #:1030349797), it's my first time on the forum, many apologies if I've done anything wrong, and please set me straight.

Using MS Word 365 to create a template:

I have created a linked hidden text style for instructions and dummy text, but when the text is hidden, the text of the heading below is out of vertical alignment with the numbering.

Can anyone help me resolve this please? I can send screenshots to help visualise my issue.

Thank you


14 Replies
Yes please, send the screenshot.
I assume it will be connected to styles, but can't say without seeing.



If you have set the hidden attribute for the heading number, so that it doesn't show up in the document, you can set "Follow number with" to "Nothing" in the Multilevel List dialog box. That may do what you want. 





Hi Lenka, and others.


Please find attached screenshots showing the issue.


Thank you for your consideration.





Hi Stefan

Thank you for your response. The heading styles are not hidden, but the dummy text is.
When I change "Follow number with" from tab character to nothing, I lose the alignment of the heading text, and it has messed with the hidden text as well. It also did not solve the vertical alignment issue between the number and heading text when the dummy text was hidden.

I have attached more screenshots following the change.




I apologize: I misunderstood your question. Just change back the indentation for the multilevel list levels to the appropriate values for your list. 



Looking at your initial screen shots again, I finally see what you mean. Text does not align with the numbering. I'm repeating your screen shot here with an arrow that emphasizes the differences: 





How is the document set up? Is any part of the text inside table cells, for example?


Are you able to share a sample document in Word format?



Stefan, my apologies for not making myself clear. I appreciate your clarification.


Please find attached a document created from the (very pared down) template, including three hidden Instruction styles.


I have found an inelegant workaround, to format the paragraphs as appropriate and apply a hidden font style only. This fixes the vertical misalignment of the heading numbering and text, but means that there are extra paragraph spaces between headings, and some visible dummy text.


To show this clearly, I've duplicated the text and applied the workaround to the second half.


I am very grateful for your consideration of this problem.




Thanks for the sample. I certainly see what you see: something peculiar is happening with the document when the hidden text is not displayed. I have asked a couple of fellow MVPs to have a look, and nobody has been able to work around the issue so far. This may be a bug with recent versions of Word. 

Hello @sarahbonnar ,

I think you made a mistake when you created L4 and L5.

Simply look at L3 which works (look at the snapshots in sequence, they are from the first half of your document). I am sure you will be able to fix that yourself once you've found out what you had done differently with L4 and L5 :-).

Let me ask you something else, though. Why do you use the hidden style? Can't you use a field with instruction which when typed on disappears (snap shot 'Start typing here')?

BTW, I wanted to say that I managed to fix that discrepancy, but since I don't know how exactly you had created the discrepancy in the first place, I probably arrived to the conclusion using a different route which may not work for you.



Adding some blank paragraphs after (and before) each text portion with hidden text appears to improve the situation, but that is an impractical workaround. Perhaps you have already noticed this.


The first screen shot illustrates the added blank paragraphs.





The second screen shot (below) illustrates the result—a print preview:


Hi Lenka
Thank you for taking the time to look at my problem.
However, I am unable to find what I did differently between L3 and L4. You suggest below that you have discovered it, could you please point me towards the answer?
I used the hidden style rather than a field for a couple of reasons. Although I have only shown dummy text in the example I've sent, I include instructions for use in the template, which uses the hidden text.
The other reason is that I don't know how to create a disappearing field.
Kind regards
So it would seem that the hidden paragraph is interacting with the heading in some way.
I'm a bit stuck on not having blank paragraphs in documents, so will just turn the hidden paras into body, and format the font only.
Thank you for your help.



Thanks for the follow-up. 


You are doing the right thing when avoiding blank paragraphs, of course. In this case, using blank paragraphs is the only workaround that I have seen (except for removing the hidden formatting, of course).