Displaying Spaces in a Document

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 1, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016


4

Have you ever worked on a document that included multiple fonts and the printout didn't quite match what you wanted? Sometimes there was more space between words or sentences than what seemed right, and you didn't quite know what the problem was?

I have found that the culprit is often my own fault. I may have placed extra spaces between words or sentences in such a manner that the text looks fine on screen, but doesn't quite fit the bill when finally printed. The solution, of course, is to remove the extra spaces and make sure there are a consistent number of them between both words and sentences. The problem with the solution is that it is often difficult to see how many spaces there really are.

Fortunately, Word allows you to easily see where spaces occur in your documents. All you need to do is follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and later versions display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Display at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Display options of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Spaces check box is selected.
  5. Click on OK.

Now, all your spaces appear as small visible dots. It is very easy to tell where two visible dots appear, as opposed to two invisible spaces. Delete any extra spaces you want, as you would delete any other characters, and you will have your document cleaned up in no time.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6827) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is 3 + 7?

2016-11-07 21:40:13

Mary Smith

Ctl Shift 8 (asterisk/star)


2016-11-05 21:18:38

Susie learey

Do a find and replace. Find Space space. Replace with space.


2016-11-05 08:26:11

Leo Reijnen

Surely, it is much easier to use the paragraph symbol on the Start ribbon? It not only reveals hard line breaks, but spaces as well. Who wants to look at little dots between words all the time? It makes for much harder reading. I have paragraph markers checked 'on' in Options|Display, so I see those all the time, and use the button to show spaces ony when I want to. - Leo


2016-11-05 05:11:18

Martin Harran

If you have lots of multiple space, you can get rid of the extra ones by using Find and Replace; enter 2 spaces in the Find box and one space in the Replace box. You may need to run the Find and Replace several times to get rid of double, triple spaces etc. - keep running it until you get no results found message.


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