- Worldstart's Tech Tips And Computer Help - http://www.worldstart.com -

Choose Which Formatting Marks to Display in Word

MS Word: Pick and Choose Which Non-Printing Characters to Display

If you’ve ever used Word’s ability to display the non-printing characters in a document, you know how helpful it can be to visually verify information such as the actual number of spaces, tabs or paragraph marks present.

However, when you use that feature you get all of the information, not just the stuff you’re actually interested in seeing… a dot for every space, giving the appearance of the words running together – an arrow for each tab – the paragraph marks… you get the idea.

Legitimate need or not, the addition of these symbols in your text might just be too much for you to visually sort through.

A shame really, since you most definitely could have benefited from seeing the paragraph marks…

Oh well, it’s an all or nothing deal, so I guess we’ll have to settle for the nothing.

Or, maybe not…

While you are correct, the button on the Home tab that displays the non-printing characters does display them all, you do have another option when it comes to displaying this type of information in your document.

You’ll find your options in what other logical place than the Word Options? (Office Button / File tab)

Once in the Options dialog box, you’ll need the Display category.


On the right, you’ll find a section entitled Always show these formatting marks on the screen.

The list is extremely straight forward – select which non-printing characters you want displayed then click OK.

That’s it – your document displays only those non-printing characters you need to see.

It’s the best of both worlds… non-printing characters without the overwhelming appearance that all of them at once can cause.

~ April