How to Turn Off Paragraph Symbols in Microsoft Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Turning off paragraph symbols in Microsoft Word is a simple process. By clicking on the ‘Home’ tab, finding the ‘Paragraph’ group, and clicking the ‘Show/Hide ¶’ button, the paragraph symbols will be toggled off. This allows for a cleaner document view, free of formatting marks.

After completing this action, the document will appear without the paragraph symbols, making it easier to read and share with others. This can be especially helpful when finalizing a document for presentation or publication.


Have you ever been working on a document in Microsoft Word and suddenly noticed a bunch of strange symbols that look like backwards ‘P’s scattered throughout your work? These symbols represent paragraph marks and they’re actually quite useful for understanding the layout and formatting of your document. However, there are times when you might want to turn them off to get a cleaner look at your work, especially when you’re sharing or printing your document.

The paragraph symbols, also known as “pilcrows,” indicate where you have hit ‘Enter’ on your keyboard to start a new paragraph. They’re part of a range of formatting marks that can include dots for spaces, arrows for tabs, and other symbols. While they’re a great way to troubleshoot formatting issues, they can be distracting. Knowing how to turn them off can make your document look more professional and less cluttered. Whether you’re a student, a business professional, or someone who uses Word for personal projects, understanding how to control these symbols is a handy skill to have. So, let’s dive in and learn how to hide these paragraph marks in just a few easy steps.

Step by Step Tutorial to Turn Off Paragraph Symbols in Microsoft Word

Before we jump into the steps, let’s clarify what we’ll accomplish. By following these instructions, you will be able to toggle off the paragraph symbols, resulting in a document that is free of these marks. This will not change the formatting of your document; it will only change what you can see on the screen.

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word Document

Open the Microsoft Word document where you want to turn off the paragraph symbols.

When you open your document, you may already see the paragraph symbols. If not, you might have toggled them off previously, or they might be off by default based on your Word settings.

Step 2: Click on ‘Home’ Tab

Click on the ‘Home’ tab in the ribbon at the top of the Word window.

The ‘Home’ tab is where you’ll find most of the basic formatting tools, such as font style, size, color, and paragraph formatting options.

Step 3: Find the ‘Paragraph’ Group

Look for the ‘Paragraph’ group within the ‘Home’ tab.

The ‘Paragraph’ group is typically located towards the middle of the ribbon in the ‘Home’ tab, and it contains several options for paragraph formatting such as alignment, line spacing, and bullets.

Step 4: Click ‘Show/Hide ¶’ Button

Click on the ‘Show/Hide ¶’ button, which looks like a backwards ‘P’, to toggle the paragraph symbols on or off.

When you click this button, it will either show or hide the paragraph marks. If the button is highlighted or has a darker background, it means the paragraph symbols are currently displayed.


Cleaner Document ViewTurning off paragraph symbols results in a cleaner and more readable document. This is especially useful for sharing or printing, as it eliminates unnecessary distractions.
Easier Editing and ReviewingWith paragraph symbols turned off, it’s easier to focus on the content and flow of the document, making the editing and reviewing process more efficient.
Customizable Viewing OptionsThe ability to toggle paragraph symbols on and off gives users more control over their document viewing preferences, allowing them to customize the interface to their liking.


Potential Formatting IssuesWithout paragraph symbols, it may be more difficult to identify and resolve formatting problems such as extra spaces or inconsistent paragraph breaks.
Limited TroubleshootingWhen paragraph symbols are off, users may miss out on important clues that can help troubleshoot other formatting issues, such as tabs and spaces.
Confusion for CollaboratorsIf a document is shared without paragraph symbols, collaborators may not understand the intended formatting, leading to potential miscommunication or errors.

Additional Information

While turning off paragraph symbols can lead to a cleaner-looking document, it’s important to note that these symbols can be incredibly helpful during the drafting and editing phases. They provide a clear visual representation of the document’s structure, which can be crucial for identifying formatting issues or ensuring consistency throughout the document.

If you’re working on a document with complex formatting, you might want to consider toggling the paragraph symbols on and off as needed. For example, you can turn them on while you’re setting up the layout and formatting, then turn them off for a final review or before sharing the document with others.

Another tip is to use the keyboard shortcut to quickly toggle paragraph symbols on and off. Simply press Ctrl + Shift + 8 (Cmd + 8 on a Mac), and the symbols will appear or disappear, saving you the time of navigating through the ribbon.

Lastly, remember that turning off paragraph symbols does not remove them from the document; it merely hides them from view. The formatting they represent, such as line breaks and spaces, remains intact.


  1. Open your Microsoft Word document.
  2. Click on the ‘Home’ tab.
  3. Find the ‘Paragraph’ group.
  4. Click the ‘Show/Hide ¶’ button to turn off paragraph symbols.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will turning off paragraph symbols change the formatting of my document?

No, turning off paragraph symbols only changes what you see on the screen. The formatting of your document remains unchanged.

Can I toggle paragraph symbols on and off using a keyboard shortcut?

Yes, you can press Ctrl + Shift + 8 (Cmd + 8 on a Mac) to quickly toggle paragraph symbols on and off.

How can I tell if paragraph symbols are turned on or off?

If the ‘Show/Hide ¶’ button is highlighted or has a darker background, the paragraph symbols are currently displayed. If the button is not highlighted, the symbols are hidden.

Are paragraph symbols visible in printed documents?

No, paragraph symbols and other formatting marks do not appear in printed documents or when the document is converted to a PDF.

Can I selectively show or hide paragraph symbols for certain parts of a document?

No, the ‘Show/Hide ¶’ function applies to the entire document. You cannot selectively show or hide paragraph symbols for specific sections.


Turning off paragraph symbols in Microsoft Word is a straightforward task that can vastly improve the readability and professionalism of your documents. Whether you’re drafting an important business report or finalizing a school essay, knowing how to toggle these symbols on and off is a useful skill. Remember, while a clean document is visually appealing, don’t underestimate the power of those little pilcrows during the editing and formatting stages.

They’re there to guide you through the maze of text and ensure your document’s structure is sound. So, the next time you’re working in Word and those paragraph symbols start to cramp your style, just hit Ctrl + Shift + 8 and watch them vanish like magic. Now that’s a neat trick worth remembering!