Code snippet in Word

If you’re creating an article, instructional piece, or essay in Microsoft Word, you may need to include a snippet of code. Whether HTML, JavaScript, or Python, you likely want it to appear different than the document text.

There are a few ways to insert command or code blocks in your Word document. Depending on if you want the reader to simply view the code or have the ability to copy it, let’s walk through the options.

Option 1: Paste Special as HTML

One of the quickest ways to add code to your document is with the Paste Special option for HTML. This inserts the code you’ve copied without the other formatting of your document. And, this option allows your reader to copy the code or command straight from your document.

RELATED: How to Paste Text Without Formatting Almost Anywhere

Select the code or command from your application and copy it using the toolbar, the context menu, or the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+C on Windows or Command+C on Mac.

Copy in the shortcut menu

Place your cursor in your Word document where you want to paste it. Then go to the Home tab, click the Paste drop-down arrow, and choose Paste Special. Select “HTML Format” and click “OK.”

HTML Format selected in the Paste Special box

When the code appears in your document, you can format the font or the snippet if you like.

Pasted HTML in Word

Use the Home tab to color specific pieces of code with the Font section of the ribbon. To add a border or shade, select the Borders drop-down arrow in the Paragraph section and pick “Borders and Shading.”

Shaded code block in Word

Option 2: Insert an Object

If you want to insert the code or command in your document only for the reader to see and not copy or edit, you can insert an object containing the snippet.

RELATED: How to Insert a Picture or Other Object in Microsoft Office

Go to the Insert tab, click the Object drop-down arrow, and pick “Object.”

Object on the Insert tab

On the Create New tab, select “OpenDocument Text” as the Object Type. Click “OK.”

OpenDocument Text selected in the Object box

A new Word document will open for you to insert your code or command. You can use the Paste Special HTML format described earlier if you like. After you add the snippet, close the document.

Your code then appears in your original Word document as an object. You can then move it, resize it, or add a border if you wish.

Object inserted in Word

Option 3: Attach a Screenshot

Another option for adding your snippet as an item instead of text is using an image. If you have your code or command in an active application window like Notepad++ or Command Prompt, you can easily add it to your document. The drawbacks here are that the reader can’t easily copy your code if they need to and that resizing may negatively affect readability.

RELATED: How to Use Microsoft Word's Built-In Screenshot Tool

Go to the Insert tab and click the Screenshot drop-down arrow. You should see the application window as an option.

Available windows in the image menu

Select it and it’ll pop into your document as an image. You can then crop the image to remove the surrounding application window if you like.

Inserted image in Word

Alternatively, you can use the Screen Clipping option in the Screenshot drop-down. When you select this tool, your cursor changes to a crosshair. Use it to drag the area of your screen or other application window you want to capture and release.

Screen Clipping tool capturing an image

That image then appears in your document. You can move, resize, or customize the snippet screenshot like any other image in Word.

Screen Clipping inserted in Word

Option 4: Use a Syntax Highlighter

One more option is to use a syntax highlighter like Easy Syntax Highlighter. This is a free add-in for Microsoft Word that highlights your code for you including a background and colors for pieces of the code. Plus, you can customize the language and appearance.

RELATED: How to Install and Use Add-ins for Microsoft Office

After you install the add-in, place the code or command in your document. You can type or paste it, whichever you prefer.

Select the code and go to the Easy Syntax Highlighter tab that now displays. To apply the default formatting with the language automatically detected, select “Highlight Selection” in the ribbon.

Highlight Selection on the Easy Syntax Highlighter tab

You’ll see your snippet highlighted and your text formatted.

Snippet highlighted with default theme

If you want to select a specific language or formatting, select “Settings” in the ribbon instead. When the sidebar opens, choose a Language and Theme.

Language and Theme in the Settings

With your code selected, click “Highlight Selection” in the sidebar.

Highlight Selection in the sidebar

You’ll then see your snippet formatted per the settings you picked. This keeps your code or command as text so your reader can copy it, but makes it stand out as its own block.

Snippet highlighted with dark theme

There’s more than one way to add a code or command block to your Word document. Depending on the purpose for your reader, choose the option that’s best for you!

Profile Photo for Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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