Enable Show/Hide Feature in MS Word


WordI cannot tell you how many times I have received a document from a client who cannot correct the problems that he/she has encountered in it.

For this reason, I instruct all my students to have the Show/Hide feature enabled in MS word.  I would not dream of using Word without this most valuable feature being enabled, because I want to see what is going on in my document and the Show/Hide feature allows me to do just that.  Most folks complain that it is just too distracting but I always answer with “you will become accustomed to it and it will save you countless hours in the long run.”

Follow the steps below to learn how to enable this great feature:

  1. In version 2007, click the Office button and Word options.
  2. In version 2010, click on File | Options.
  3. This will open the dialog box.
  4. At the left-hand side of the dialog box, click Display.
  5. Under Always show these formatting marks on the screen, select the last box which is Show all formatting marks.

This is one of the greatest time saving features in MS Word in my humble opinion!

Now, when you have a problem with your document you can readily see what is going on (an extra space, a tab where it doesn’t belong, etc.)

Even if you do not have this wonderful feature enabled (which I strongly suggest you do), make certain that you enable it when you encounter a problem with your document and you will very often be able to identify the problem immediately.


About the Author

Carol Bratt

Carol holds A+, MCP, and MOS computer certifications and is the resident DCT Office expert. She trains the staffs of small law firms in the use of Microsoft Office applications and has authored many books covering Microsoft Office as well as written articles for Infopackets, TechnoLawyer, and Digital Harbor. For more Microsoft Office tips visit Carol's Corner Office or follow Carol on FaceBook and Twitter.

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