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: Shortcut for Show/Hide.

Shortcut for Show/Hide

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 22, 2014)

10

Word has a number of non-printing characters that it commonly uses in a document. These characters include spaces, tabs, paragraph marks, and a few other such characters. When you are editing and formatting documents, it is often useful to view these characters, as they can affect the appearance of your document.

The normal way to display the non-printing characters is to click on the Show/Hide tool (it looks like it has a backwards P—a pilcrow character—on it). If you are loathe to remove your hands from the keyboard in order to use the mouse, you might want to memorize a quick little shortcut: Ctrl+* (that's the asterisk), which can also be written as Shift+Ctrl+8. This shortcut key toggles the Show/Hide tool on and off.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13029) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Shortcut for Show/Hide.

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

Stupid Web Toolbar

If the Web toolbar pops up and drives you crazy, this tip can help. Here you learn how to turn off the pop-up nature of ...

Discover More

Pasting a Graphic to Multiple Worksheets

Do you need to add a logo or other graphic to a bunch of worksheets? Here are a couple of short macros that can make ...

Discover More

Following a Number with Different Characters

When creating numbered lists, the normal characters that follow the number are a period and a tab. Here's how to force ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Changing the Document Window Background Color

Word's default black text and a white background may not appeal to everyone. There are a couple of ways to change the ...

Discover More

Jumping to a Line Number

Need to jump to a specific line number in your document? It's easy to do using the Go To command, as described in this tip.

Discover More

Zooming with the Keyboard

Want to zoom in and out without the need to using the ribbon tools? You can create your own handy macros that do the ...

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 nine more than 6?

2018-06-01 20:33:38

Prem

Hello. I am using Windows 10 and Office 2016. Suddenly a few months ago, two blue arrows started appearing on every photo, video, and word document saved on my computer. What could it be? How can I stop them appearing? I will appreciate your response.


2015-11-09 09:26:56

Edie

Tom,
YOU are the BEST!!!!
Thanks so very, very much!
Have a GREAT week!!
Edie


2015-11-08 09:18:15

Tom Redd

Eddie
The simplest way to get the ribbon back is to double click any one of the tabs.


2015-11-07 08:24:48

Edie

Somehow I lost my icon ribbon under my command tabs at the top of the word doc. How can I get that back? Read somewhere to go to the Word preferences but I have no idea how to do that.
Thanks in advance for your help!
Kindness,
Edie


2014-03-26 12:16:17

Tom

I am in Word 2013 and this didn't work at all for me.


2014-03-24 11:39:18

Heather

In 2010 you can also use Alt then h then 8


2014-03-23 08:36:28

David

Yeah, and <Ctrl+*> where the numeric keypad “*” (asterisk or multiplier) is used does not work in word 2010!
So if you hover the mouse pointer over the ribbon command, the tool tip should really advise <Ctrl+Shift+8> and NOT <Ctrl+*> - It would seem Microsoft do not recognise the numeric keypad facility for keyboard short cuts.


2014-03-22 13:22:43

awyatt

Surendera:

If you read the last paragraph it says "Ctrl+* (that's the asterisk), which can also be written as Shift+Ctrl+8."

On my keyboard, the two are equivalent. You get to the asterisk by holding down the Shift key as you press the 8 key. (The 8 key on the keyboard, not the one on the numeric keypad.)

-Allen


2014-03-22 12:22:09

Sandra

This only works with the number 8 above the alphabetic keyboard, not with the number 8 in the numerical keyboard on the side of the alphabetic keyboard.


2014-03-22 12:06:25

sURENDERA m. Bhanot

This command works with <Ctrl+Shift+8> and not with <Ctrl+*> in word2010.

If you hover the mouse pointer over most the ribbon commands, the tool tip appeal. Most of these tooltips contain the keyboard shortcuts to. Try remembering them and using them it’s a great convenience to activate commands with keyboard rather that mouse.


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.