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By the end of this lesson, learners should be able to:

  • Use Reveal Formatting

Why display non-printing characters?

Non-printing characters are automatically inserted into your document as you type. You will not see these characters unless you choose to show the formatting marks. So why display these characters? Showing the document formatting can assist you when editing. Non-printing characters such as spaces, tabs, and hard returns (created when you press the Enter key), will now be visually displayed on your page.

For example:

A document that was created with numerous tabs could be quite difficult to edit if you needed to delete all the tabs. However, if you display your non-printing characters, you will be able to quickly see where all the tabs exist. The tab symbol will appear as an arrow pointing to the right,Tab Symbol. Place the insertion point to the right of the tab symbol and press the Backspace key to quickly delete these tabs.

To Reveal Formatting Marks:
  • Click the Show/Hide button on the Standard Toolbar.


  • Select the Reveal Formatting Menu from the Task Pane.
  • Check the Show all formatting marks checkbox at the bottom of the Menu under Options.

Show and Hide Button

Show All on the Task Pane

When you select the Show/Hide button, codes for paragraph marks Paragraph Symbol, tabs Tab Symbol, and spaces . are visible in your document. If you prefer to display non-printing characters when formatting your document, these symbols will not appear in your printed document.


  • Open your document.
  • Select the Show/Hide Codes button.
  • Notice how the non-printing characters appear in your Header and Footer.
  • Save any changes you have made and close your document.

Note: If you would like to look at the nonprinting characters in more detail, open one of the letters from a previous challenge.


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