Reveal Formatting Marks In Word 13

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Now you see them, now you don’t!!!

Many times when we are editing a document in Word, we notice some characters that are not supposed to be there, and that we are sure that we didn’t type them. Nothing to worry about!!! These are all the nonprinting characters that appear in our document in order to help us with the layout of our document. We can show paragraph marks and other hidden formatting symbols in order for them to help us. Some users find these marks too confusing and not understandable, but the thing is that they are very useful.

It is just a simple click away in order for them to appear or not. Below I will describe how can they be shown or not with a simple click, or if we want to be more specific in what special character to appear or not.


One option and easy one is to activate the Show/Hide command which is located at the top right corner of the Paragraph area which is located on the Home tab of the ribbon as shown in the image below. Once selected all the formatting and paragraph characters are displayed.


Another option if we want to specify which characters are to be displayed, we must select the File tab in order to move in backstage view and then from the drop down menu that appears we select the Options command which is located at the bottom left as shown below.

Info - Options

Once selected the Word Options dialog box appears, where from the left we select the category Display and from the middle of the dialog box we scroll down until we locate the area mentioning the following:

Always Show These Formatting Marks On The Screen

Always Show Formatting Marks

Under this area we can activate or deactivate the following commands in order for them to appear in our document:

  • Tab Characters: Displays the tab character as an arrow.
  • Spaces: Displays spaces as little dots, so they can tell us where we have typed spaces.
  • Paragraph Marks: Displays paragraph marks. Paragraph formatting is contained with the paragraph mark at the end of the paragraph, meaning that every time we type text in our document and press the Enter button, the paragraph mark appears.
  • Hidden Text: Displays hidden text, which can be done from the Font dialog box.
  • Optional Hyphens: Displays optional hyphens, which is handful when we want control over hyphenation.
  • Object Anchors: Displays the anchors that binds objects to a specific location in our document.
  • Show All Formatting Marks: Displays all the hidden characters in our document.

If we select the Show All Formatting Marks command all the marks will be displayed in our document as if we were using the Show/Hide command.

Revealed Marks

In the image below, we can see all the marks and format that are in the document with a brief description of what is what. As mentioned above, no matter if we have activated or not to display the hidden characters and format in our document they will not be printed, so they wont show up in the printed version of our document,  While working in Word, and once the Show/Hide command is activated we may see other hidden formatting marks such as Page Breaks, Section Breaks, Columns, etc.

Detailed Formatting Marks

Below you can check out the video about how to reveal the formatting in a Word document.

Reveal Formatting Marks in Word 13

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