Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 27, 2017)

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 at the Word MVP site. Here's the article:

http://wordmvp.com/faqs/formatting/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 and 2010. 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. ...

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