How to Add Carriage Returns in MS Word


Microsoft Word is the most popular word-processing program in the world not just because of its manufacturer’s marketing know-how but also due to its ease-of-use and helpful features. It can transform a plain-looking page of text into a visual pleasure by applying formats on a character or paragraph level. In order to distinguish the latter, however, you need to add a carriage return to the end of every paragraph element, either manually or automatically.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Word


  • Choose the “Tools” menu and click “Options” to display the “Options” dialogue box.

  • Click the “View” tab. Under “Formatting Marks,” click a checkmark next to “Paragraph marks.”

  • Click “OK” to make the previously-invisible text symbols appear in the document. The symbol for a carriage return, also known as a paragraph mark, looks like an inverted “P” with a filled loop.

  • Click anywhere you want to manually insert a carriage return. Press the “Enter” key. A paragraph marker is placed at the insertion point. Text after that point moves to the next line.


  • Make sure hidden codes are turned on if you want to insert several carriage returns by automatically replacing a previously-hidden code. The most common candidate for this replacement is the line-break, which appears as an arrow facing left.

  • Click the “Replace” tab.

  • Choose the “Edit” menu and “Replace” to display the “Find and Replace” dialogue box. Enter the text you want to replace into the “Find What” box. For example, to specify a line break, enter a caret (SHIFT + 6) and the letter “l” (^l).

  • Enter the carriage return by typing a caret (SHIFT + 6) and the letter “p” (^p) into the “Replace With” box.

  • Click either “Replace” to confirm each replacement or “Replace All” to replace everything instantly. The paragraph marks appear in your text in place of the previous character.

Tips & Warnings

  • These procedures apply specifically to Microsoft Word 2000 for Windows. However, they apply in general to all versions of the product.

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  • Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images
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