Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Symbols for Non-Printing Characters.

Symbols for Non-Printing Characters

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 18, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


1

When David uses the Show/Hide tool to display the non-printing characters in a document, he finds it helpful in figuring out formatting. By now he knows the meanings of many of the characters that are used to represent non-printing characters (paragraph, space, tab, etc.). There are other characters, however, that he can only guess at, like the degree symbol in place of some spaces or the tiny filled-in square that he thinks is something to do with orphan paragraphs and keeping things together. David wonders if there is a comprehensive list of all the non-printing character symbols and their meanings.

There are several places on the Web where you can find good information about Word's non-printing characters. Perhaps the best one available, however, is the one by Word MVP Suzanne Barnhill. Here's the article:

http://wordfaqs.ssbarnhill.com/NonprintChars.htm

The article is quite comprehensive, and it includes images that show what the symbol for each non-printing character looks like.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9407) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Symbols for Non-Printing Characters.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Changing Color of the Insertion Point

In your quest to customize Word, you may change the colors used to display your document. After doing so, it may become ...

Discover More

Triggering an Event when a Worksheet is Deactivated

One way you can use macros in a workbook is to have them automatically triggered when certain events take place. Here's ...

Discover More

Word Won't Capitalize Some Sentences

By default, Word capitalizes the first letter of sentences as you type. If you notice that Word doesn't capitalize some ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Too Many Edits Prevent Pasting

Sometimes Word can be rather cryptic in the error messages it provides. One such cryptic message warns about "too many ...

Discover More

Easily Changing Username and Initials

Word uses usernames and initials to mark changes made while Track Changes is turned on. If you want to change those ...

Discover More

Using Go To with a Percentage

Need to jump a certain percentage of the way through a document? You can do it using the familiar Go To tab of the Find ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 - 0?

2020-07-18 17:56:36

Nadine

Thanks, Allen. Suzanne’s article is terrific!


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Videos
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.