How to Remove Gray Shading From Behind Text in a Microsoft Word Document

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Microsoft Word's Paragraph and Page Setup options enable you to remove gray shading behind the text and update your document. If a gray background makes the text look indistinct, select a brighter color in the Shading chart to make the text stand out on the page. For example, contrast black text with a gold background to emphasize a point or a task. For another option, replace the gray with a white or clear fill to create a more streamlined look as your viewers read your document from top to bottom.

Paragraph Options

Step 1

Click and drag to select the text from which you want to remove the gray shading.

Step 2

Click the "Home" tab on the command ribbon and then click the "Shading" arrow button in the Paragraph group to open the chart of Theme Colors and Standard Colors. Theme colors include gradients for colors such as blue, orange and gold. Standard colors feature bright hues without gradients.

Step 3

Mouse over a color sample to preview the effect. For example, point over "White, Background 1" in the Theme Colors section to match the default white document page or point over a bright blue sample in the Standard Colors section.

Step 4

Select the preferred color sample to replace the gray shading behind the text.

Step 5

Press "Ctrl-S" to save your updated Word document.

Text in Shaded Borders

Step 1

Press "Ctrl-P" to open the File tab's Print window.

Step 2

Click the "Page Setup" link to open the dialog box with three tab sheets: Margins, Paper and Layout. Click the "Layout" tab and then click the "Borders" button in the Preview section to open the Borders and Shading dialog box.

Step 3

Click the "Shading" sheet tab and then click the Fill section's drop-down list to display the Theme Colors and Standard Colors chart. Point over and select the preferred fill thumbnail, such as "Green Accent 6, Lighter 60 Percent," to display the color in the Fill box and Preview pane. Click "OK" to update the shading in the Print preview.

Step 4

Click "Print" to print this updated format or select the arrow button in the sidebar to return to the document. Press "Ctrl-S" to save this edited Word file.


The Shading icon displays the current color on a bar under the tipping paint can on the Home tab's Paragraph group. When you want to copy this color shading to other selected text, click the "Shading" button. The Shading icon updates with each new selected color.

Other Shading options on the drop-down menu include "No Color" for a clear look and "More Colors" with a variety of color samples displayed on the Standard and Custom tab sheets. Click a color sample on the Standard sheet, or insert a value in the "Red," "Green" or "Blue" boxes on the Custom sheet to preview the selected color in the New box, and then click "OK" to update the shading behind the text.


Information in this article applies to Microsoft Word 2013, Small Business Premium. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.

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