How to Get Rid of Space Marks on Microsoft Word

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Although the document window on Microsoft Word may appear to be uncluttered, containing no more than text and perhaps a graphic or two, there is actually a lot going on "behind the scenes." When you insert formatting, such as a tab, hyphen, space or hard return, Word inserts formatting characters that you cannot see unless you turn on the option to view these marks. A space is indicated by a small, centered dot, and when formatting marks are turned on, seeing these dots in every blank space can be distracting.

Hide All Formatting Symbols

  • Select the "Home" tab at the top of the Microsoft Word ribbon.

  • Locate the "Paragraph" section of the ribbon. This section contains a button that looks like a paragraph symbol, as well as buttons for adding bullets, centering text and setting line spacing. The paragraph symbol button is the toggle for viewing or hiding formatting symbols.

  • View the paragraph button. If the button is a yellow-gold color, then it is set to "Show," and this is why space marks are showing up in your document.

  • Click the icon that contains the paragraph symbol to toggle it to "Hide."

  • Observe as the paragraph symbol icon turns back to the color of the rest of the ribbon. All formatting marks disappear from your document window.

Hide Spacing Marks

  • Click the "Home" tab at the top of the Microsoft Word ribbon. Observe the paragraph symbol icon again. If it is not the yellow-gold color, yet space marks are still showing on your screen, Word options have been set to display the spacing marks.

  • Select the "File" tab at the top of the ribbon. Click "Options" and then "Display."

  • Click the box to remove the check mark next to "Spaces" under the heading "Always show these formatting marks on the screen." Click "OK." The main document window will open again, and the space marks will no longer be showing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Viewing the space marks is useful if you are trying to find and remove extra spaces, such as those at the beginning of lines or accidental instances of two spaces between words.
  • Sometimes a hidden page or section break can cause problems, such as a page that ends before you want it to. Toggle the paragraph button to "Show" to find and remove any breaks.
  • The keyboard shortcut for togging the formatting symbols to "Show" or "Hide" is "Ctrl+Shift+*" using the asterisk above the "8" on your keyboard, not the one on the keypad at the right-hand side of extended keyboards.

References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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