How to Turn On Show/Hide in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide to Formatting

Turning on the show/hide feature in Word is easy and can help you see hidden formatting marks. Just follow these simple steps, and you’ll be able to view spaces, paragraph marks, and other hidden items in your document. This is especially useful if you’re editing or formatting a document and need to see exactly how it’s laid out.

How to Turn On Show/Hide in Word

This tutorial will guide you through the process of turning on the show/hide feature in Microsoft Word. By enabling this feature, you can see formatting marks like spaces, tabs, and paragraph breaks, making your document editing much easier.

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word

First, open Microsoft Word on your computer. Locate the Word icon on your desktop or in your start menu and double-click to open.

You need to have your document ready to go. If you don’t have one already open, you can create a new one or open an existing document.

Step 2: Go to the Home Tab

Next, navigate to the "Home" tab in the toolbar at the top of the screen.

The Home tab contains many of the basic editing features you’ll use often. It’s where you’ll find the show/hide button as well.

Step 3: Click on the Show/Hide Button

Find the show/hide button in the Paragraph group. It looks like a paragraph symbol (¶). Click on it.

Once you click this button, you’ll see all the hidden formatting marks in your document. These include spaces, tabs, and paragraph marks.

Step 4: Review Your Document

Now, take a look at your document. You’ll notice that the hidden formatting marks are now visible.

This can really help you understand how your document is formatted. If you see extra spaces or breaks, you can easily fix them.

Step 5: Turn It Off When Done

When you’re finished, you can click the show/hide button again to hide the formatting marks.

You don’t need to see these marks all the time. Just turn them on when you need them and off when you don’t.

After you complete these steps, all hidden formatting marks will be visible in your document. This can help you edit and format your document more accurately.

Tips for Turning On Show/Hide in Word

  • Keyboard Shortcut: Use the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + 8 to quickly toggle the show/hide feature.
  • Persistent Marks: Remember, the show/hide setting is document-specific. If you open a new document, you’ll need to enable it again.
  • Editing Aid: Use this feature when editing documents with complex formatting to spot extra spaces or tabs easily.
  • Paragraph Marks: Pay special attention to paragraph marks. They can help you understand where new paragraphs start and end.
  • Toggle Quickly: If you find the marks distracting, just toggle them off until you need them again.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the show/hide button look like?

The show/hide button looks like a paragraph symbol (¶).

Where can I find the show/hide button in Word?

You can find it in the Home tab, within the Paragraph group.

Why should I use the show/hide feature?

The show/hide feature helps you see hidden formatting marks, making it easier to edit and format your document.

Can I use a keyboard shortcut to turn on show/hide?

Yes, you can use Ctrl + Shift + 8 to toggle the show/hide feature on and off.

Does the show/hide setting apply to all documents?

No, the setting is document-specific. You need to enable it for each document separately.


  1. Open Microsoft Word.
  2. Go to the Home tab.
  3. Click on the show/hide button.
  4. Review your document.
  5. Turn off show/hide when done.


Turning on the show/hide feature in Word can be a game-changer when it comes to editing and formatting your documents. By following the simple steps outlined above, you can easily see all the hidden formatting marks, making it much easier to spot and fix any issues. Whether you’re a student working on an essay or a professional preparing a report, this feature can save you a lot of time and hassle.

Don’t forget to use the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl + Shift + 8) for quick access, and remember that this setting is specific to each document. So, next time you’re editing a document and things just don’t look right, turn on the show/hide feature and take a look behind the scenes. You might be surprised at what you find!