How to Show Non-Printing Characters in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Show Non-Printing Characters in Word

Need to see all those hidden characters in your Word document, like spaces, tabs, and paragraph marks? Don’t worry, it’s easy! Just click on the "Show/Hide" button in the Home tab. This will reveal all the non-printing characters in your text, helping you format your document perfectly.

Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Show Non-Printing Characters in Word

In this section, we’ll walk you through the steps needed to show all those hidden characters, making it easier to format your document. Ready? Let’s dive in!

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word

First things first, open your Microsoft Word application.

Make sure your document is open and ready. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new blank document or an existing one.

Step 2: Go to the Home Tab

Next, click on the "Home" tab located at the top of the window.

This is where most of the essential tools are, including the one we need to show non-printing characters.

Step 3: Find the Show/Hide Button

Look for the "Show/Hide" button in the Paragraph group. It looks like a backwards "P" (¶).

The icon is pretty easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for, and it’s a key tool for formatting.

Step 4: Click the Show/Hide Button

Click on that button.

Immediately, you’ll see all the non-printing characters in your document. These include spaces (dots), paragraph marks (¶), and tabs (arrows).

Step 5: Review Your Document

Now, take a look at your document to see all the hidden formatting marks.

This can help you fix spacing issues or understand why your document looks the way it does.

Once you complete these steps, you’ll see all those invisible characters that can mess up your document’s formatting. It makes it easier to spot extra spaces, line breaks, and tabs.

Tips for Showing Non-Printing Characters in Word

  1. If the Show/Hide button annoys you, click it again to hide the characters.
  2. Use these hidden marks to check for double spaces or unintended blank lines.
  3. Make it a habit to review hidden characters before finalizing a document.
  4. Knowing how to use these marks can make you faster at editing.
  5. If you’re working with complex formatting, these marks are lifesavers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are non-printing characters in Word?

Non-printing characters are marks used for formatting in a document but do not appear when printed.

Why should I use the Show/Hide button?

It helps you identify and fix formatting issues like extra spaces or tabs.

Can I print these characters?

No, non-printing characters are only visible in the editing view and do not appear in printed documents.

Are non-printing characters the same in all Word versions?

Mostly, yes. However, the appearance and functionality might slightly differ depending on the version.

How can I hide these characters again?

Just click the Show/Hide button again to make them disappear.


  1. Open Microsoft Word.
  2. Go to the Home tab.
  3. Find the Show/Hide button.
  4. Click the Show/Hide button.
  5. Review your document.


So, that’s it! You’ve learned how to reveal all those sneaky, non-printing characters in Microsoft Word. This little trick can save you heaps of time and headaches, especially if you’re dealing with complex documents. Think of it like turning on a light in a dark room; suddenly, all the hidden stuff becomes crystal clear.

Once you get the hang of this, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. You’ll find yourself clicking that Show/Hide button often, just to make sure everything is in its right place. And trust me, your documents will look much more polished because of it.

If you’re hungry for more tips and tricks on using Word, there are plenty of resources out there. Don’t let non-printing characters trip you up ever again. Happy editing!