Blip tip: Hide formatting marks in Word

If you see spots, and paragraph marks, and other formatting characters in your Microsoft Word documents, making them go away is easy.

Dennis O'Reilly Former CNET contributor
Dennis O'Reilly began writing about workplace technology as an editor for Ziff-Davis' Computer Select, back when CDs were new-fangled, and IBM's PC XT was wowing the crowds at Comdex. He spent more than seven years running PC World's award-winning Here's How section, beginning in 2000. O'Reilly has written about everything from web search to PC security to Microsoft Excel customizations. Along with designing, building, and managing several different web sites, Dennis created the Travel Reference Library, a database of travel guidebook reviews that was converted to the web in 1996 and operated through 2000.
Dennis O'Reilly

A family member contacted me this morning about a problem a friend of his was having in Microsoft Word. It seems there were little dots in every blank space, paragraph marks at each "carriage return," and other formatting symbols that she didn't want to see.

To hide formatting in Word 2003, click Format > Reveal Formatting (or press Shift-F1) and uncheck "Show all formatting marks."

Microsoft Word 2003 Reveal Formatting pane
Uncheck "Show all formatting marks" in Microsoft Word's Reveal Formatting pane to hide the unwanted symbols in your documents. Microsoft

In Word 2007, change this option by clicking the Office button in the top-left corner, choosing Word Options, selecting Display in the left pane, and unchecking "Show all formatting marks."

Microsoft Word 2007 Display options
Deactivate formatting marks in Word 2007 via the Display window in the Word Options dialog box. Microsoft

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