Word 2000: Show/Hide Codes

Lesson 21: Show/Hide Codes



By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Use show and hide codes

Using show and hide codes

Whether or not you realize it, when you compose a Word document nonprinting characters are inserted. To assist you when editing, Word can display the nonprinting characters it uses to indicate spaces, tabs, and hard returns, which are created when you press the Enter key.

On the Standard toolbar, you will see the Show/Hide button. See the illustration below:

Show hide button

Show and hide buttons

When you select the Show/Hide button, codes for paragraph marks Paragraph code, tabs Tab code, and spaces are visible in your document.

If you prefer to display nonprinting characters when formatting your document, these symbols will not appear in your printed document.

Reasons to display nonprinting characters

  • General editing: Display nonprinting characters when you need to follow a specified format.
  • Combining two paragraphs: Erase the returns that separate paragraphs. Returns are represented on the screen by paragraph symbolsParagraph code.. Erasing the symbol will erase the return.
  • Deleting tabs: Place the insertion point to the right of the tab symbol Tab code, then press the Backspace key.

Displaying paragraph characters

  • It's easier to combine and separate paragraphs by erasing and inserting actual paragraph symbols.
  • Each paragraph symbol contains important information about the format of the paragraph preceding it, including type size and style, indentation, and borders.


  • Open a previously saved document.
  • Select the Show/Hide button on the Standard toolbar.
  • Correct any obvious formatting mistakes you may have made.
  • Deselect the Show/Hide button.
  • Save your changes.