Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Printing Show/Hide Characters.

Printing Show/Hide Characters

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 30, 2014)

2

If you use the Show/Hide tool in the Paragraph group on the Home tab of the ribbon, you can alternatively show or hide marks that indicate the location of non-printing characters in your document. You can also control display of the markings individually by using controls on the Display options of the Word Options dialog box.

While the marks may be disconcerting at first, once you are used to them, they are a great boon to efficiently editing a document. In some situations you may have a need to print your document with the marks visible. For instance, if you teach a class in how to use Word, printing a document with the show/hide marks visible would help to explain to students why their documents don't look exactly as they want them to. Unfortunately, Word doesn't provide a way for you to do this.

One obvious workaround is to capture graphic representations of the screen. When you are looking at a particular portion of the document that you want to print, pressing the PrintScreen key places a screen shot on the Clipboard. You can then switch to a new document and press Ctrl+V to paste the captured screen into the new document. The drawback to this approach, of course, is that you can only print your document one screen at a time.

Another solution is to replace the non-printing characters with characters that will print. The following table shows what you should search for and what you should replace with in order to get the desired results.

Character Search For Replace With
Tab ^t 2192, Alt+X
Spaces (space) Alt+0183
Paragraph Marks ^p Alt+0182^p
Optional Hyphens ^- Alt+0172

When entering what you are searching for, a combination such as Alt+0182 means to hold down the Alt key as you type 0182 on the numeric keypad. The combination 2192, Alt+X means to type the numbers 2192 then immediately press Alt+X.

Now you can print the document and the marks are visible on the printout. The only drawback is that since the replacement characters have horizontal width, the pagination of your document will not be the same as it was before you did the replacements. In addition, replacing spaces with the small dot (Alt+0183) means that Word won't know where to break lines; it sees absolutely no spaces between words.

If this approach produces satisfactory results for your needs, you can always record the multiple search and replace steps into a single macro that can be run at any 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 (10051) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Printing Show/Hide 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

AutoText Entries Don't Stick

AutoText can be a great tool, but it is of little worth if you can't get Word to remember the AutoText entries you create. ...

Discover More

Changing Toolbar Location

If you don't like where your toolbars are located, just move them around.

Discover More

Protecting a Worksheet's Format

You can protect various parts of your worksheets by using the tools built into Excel. One thing you can protect is the format ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Opening and Printing a Document

Want a quick, fast way to print a Word document? Here's a way that can't be beat!

Discover More

Changing Print Dialog Box Defaults

Some of the built-in defaults in Word can't be changed. Often times, however, you can work around these defaults by using ...

Discover More

Triple-Spacing Your Document

Print your document with lots of space between each line by triple spacing it! Here are some quick and easy steps for getting ...

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}] 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 two more than 4?

2014-09-02 09:10:49

Jennifer Thomas

Does anyone know how to do this with a macro? I couldn't find the ChW or ASCII codes for these non-printing characters ... thanks!


2014-08-31 09:28:21

Michael

Hi Allan,
There's a glitch on this line; your included the ^p after the Alt+....:

Paragraph Marks ^p Alt+0182^p


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.

Newest Tips
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.