The Contract Tools Pane Appears with Black Shapes; Highlighting Is Misplaced

  • What happens: The Contract Tools pane (see The Contract Tools Pane) is partially covered by black rectangles. Highlighting (see Highlighting Content) is not aligned with text in your document.

  • What this means: Most likely, the scale of your computer’s display has changed since you signed in to Windows. A Display Settings button may appear at the bottom of the Word window when this happens. Your display’s scale may change when you connect your computer to an additional display or disconnect it from an additional display. Also, in Windows 11, you can change your display’s scale in Settings (choose System > Display).

  • What you should do: Sign out of Windows (or restart your computer), sign in to Windows, and then open Word.

Here are ways to sign out of Windows 11:
  • Show the Start menu, click your user name at the bottom left, and then choose “Sign out”.

  • Right-click the Start button and choose Shut down or sign out > Sign out.

As an alternative, in Word 2016 and later (including Word for Microsoft 365), you can adjust Word options: choose File > Options > General, and then select “Optimize for compatibility”. Visit Office support for high definition displays to learn more.

If black rectangles still appear in the Contract Tools pane or if highlighting still appears in the wrong place, email

If the Contract Tools pane fails to appear, see The Contract Tools Pane Won’t Appear. If both the Contract Tools ribbon tab and the Contract Tools pane fail to appear, see Contract Tools Won’t Start and Contract Tools Won’t Start Due to an Error.