HomeMicrosoft OfficeHow to Show or Hide Non-Printing Characters in Word?

How to Show or Hide Non-Printing Characters in Word?

Mastering Non-Printing Characters in Microsoft Word.

In the digital realm of document creation, what you see is not always what you get. Generally, when you type something in Microsoft Word, what appears on screen is just the tip of the iceberg. Beneath those words and sentences, there’s an invisible framework of non-printing characters that play a pivotal role in structuring your document. These characters, as the name suggests, don’t appear in printed form, but they’re essential for defining spaces, tabs, line breaks, and more. Imagine them as the backstage crew in a play, ensuring everything runs seamlessly on the main stage. By making these characters visible, you gain an invaluable insight into the layout of your document, helping you spot unintended spaces or tabs. So, if you’re eager to pull back the curtain and see what lies beneath your typed content in Word, this risewindows article is tailor-made for you. Dive in to learn how to reveal or hide these behind-the-scenes characters and enhance your document formatting skills.

How to Always Hide or Unhide Non-Printing Characters in Word?

Use the following steps to always display or hide the non-printing characters in a Microsoft Word document:-

Step 1: Go to the Word document you want to show or hide the non-printing characters.

Step 2: Click on the File menu.

Step 3: Find Options option in the left sidebar on the backstage screen. Then click on it.

Step 4: Once the Word Options panel opens, look for the Display tab in the right sidebar and click on it.

Step 5: Next, look for the section “Always show these formatting marks on the screen.” Check the boxes to display the non-printing characters:-

  • Hidden text
  • Optional hyphens
  • Object anchors
  • Show all formatting marks
  • Tab characters
  • Spaces
  • Paragraph marks

Similarly, in case you don’t want to display them, uncheck the boxes.

Step 7: Click on OK.

Once you have completed the above steps, Word will display the non-printing character that you’ve chosen.

How to Temporarily Show or Hide the Non-Printing Characters in Word?

The following steps will help you temporarily show or hide the non-printing characters:-

Step 1: Go to the Word document you want to show or hide the non-printing characters.

Step 2: Click on the Home tab.


Step 3: In the “Paragraph” group, click on the Pilcrow icon. It will look like a backward capital P.

After completing the above steps, you will find the non-printing characters on your screen. In case you want to hide them, click on the Plicrow icon again in the Home tab.


Understanding and managing the non-printing characters in Microsoft Word is crucial for efficient document formatting. These characters, while invisible, form the backbone of a document’s structure. By revealing these characters, users can get a clearer picture of the document’s layout, which can be instrumental in addressing unwanted spaces or tabs. Whether you wish to always see these characters or only occasionally, Microsoft Word offers simple steps to customize their visibility to your preference.


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