How to Show Formatting Marks in Word?



If you’ve ever worked on a complicated Word project, you’ve definitely encountered those annoying situations when you can’t seem to align a bullet point or a paragraph of text appropriately, or where text keeps breaking off onto another page when it should be on the same page.

In order to correct these issues, you may need to manually alter the formatting of the document. The text of the document is kept separate from the formatting in Word. This is beneficial since it allows you to change the formatting without losing any text.

I’ll show you how to display formatting marks in Word documents in this article. Tabs, hyphens, spaces, paragraph markers, buried content, page breaks, and other formatting marks are examples. I’ll also discuss Reveal Formatting, a feature in Word that allows you to examine all of the formatting applied to any selected text.

Formatting Marks Should Be Visible

In Word, you can display formatting or paragraph markers in one of two ways: by using the button on the paragraph ribbon or by going to Word – Options. For all documents, the latter method will display the formatting marks at all times. You may toggle the display of the markings with the button, and it only affects documents that are now open.

  1. To see paragraph marks in Word, go to the Home tab in the ribbon and then to the Paragraph section and click on the paragraph mark.
  2. I’ve included some text in Word with simple formatting as an example:
  3. If I click the button above, I’ll see all of the formatting marks in the document right away.

look at the formatting markings

Tabs are the lines with the arrow pointing to the right, and spaces are the single dots. The page break is at the bottom, and the buried text is emphasized with a dotted line. If you wish to see a specific formatting mark all of the time, go to File and then Options.

Now, in the left-hand menu, go to Display and look for a section named Always show these formatting marks on the screen.

Always display the formatting

If you choose, you can select to show all formatting marks at the bottom of the list. Let’s take a look at Word’s reveal formatting option.

Formatting is revealed

It’s occasionally useful to check what kind of formatting has been applied to text in addition to reading paragraph and formatting marks in a Word document. If you’re familiar with HTML and CSS, you’ll notice that this is very similar.



Simply press SHIFT + F1 to reveal formatting in Word, and a dialogue window will emerge docked to the right side of the screen.

Simply click anywhere in your document or select some text to view all of the formatting that has been applied, including font, language, effects, and so on. It will also inform you how the paragraph and section were formatted. This is really handy if you need to examine exactly what formatting was used to give a piece of text a specific appearance.

It’s also worth mentioning that the dialog’s blue links are clickable. So, if you wish to change the font, simply click on FONT and the Font dialogue will appear.

The same may be said for Effects, Alignment, Indentation, Spacing, and Margins, among other things. Another wonderful technique to alter the formatting on a specific bit of text that is causing you problems is to use this method. In a Word document, these are pretty much the only means to alter or examine formatting. Please leave a remark if you have any questions. Enjoy!

Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.