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Printing Show/Hide Characters

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Printing Show/Hide Characters.

If you use the Show/Hide tool on the Formatting toolbar, you can alternatively show or hide marks that indicate the location of non-printing characters in your document. You can also control display of the markings individually by using controls on the View tab of the Options dialog box.

While the marks may be disconcerting at first, once you are used to them, they are a great boon to efficiently editing a document. In some situations you may have a need to print your document with the marks visible. For instance, if you teach a class in how to use Word, printing a document with the show/hide marks visible would help to explain to students why their documents don't look exactly as they want them to. Unfortunately, Word doesn't provide a way for you to do this.

One obvious workaround is to capture graphic representations of the screen. When you are looking at a particular portion of the document that you want to print, pressing the PrintScreen key places a screen shot on the Clipboard. You can then switch to a new document and press Ctrl+V to paste the captured screen into the new document. The drawback to this approach, of course, is that you can only print your document one screen at a time.

Another solution is to replace the non-printing characters with characters that will print. The following table shows what you should search for and what you should replace with in order to get the desired results.

Character Search For Replace With
Tab ^t 2192, Alt+X
Spaces (space) Alt+0183
Paragraph Marks ^p Alt+0182^p
Optional Hyphens ^- Alt+0172

When entering what you are searching for, a combination such as Alt+0182 means to hold down the Alt key as you type 0182 on the numeric keypad. The combination 2192, Alt+X means to type the numbers 2192 then immediately press Alt+X.

Now you can print the document and the marks are visible on the printout. The only drawback is that since the replacement characters have horizontal width, the pagination of your document will not be the same as it was before you did the replacements. In addition, replacing spaces with the small dot (Alt+0183) means that Word won't know where to break lines; it sees absolutely no spaces between words.

If this approach produces satisfactory results for your needs, you can always record the multiple search and replace steps into a single macro that can be run at any time.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3789) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Printing Show/Hide Characters.

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Comments for this tip:

Steve Wells    18 Nov 2013, 17:13
An easier way to "type" the rightwards arrow (Unicode 2192), is to type its decimal value just as you would for ASCII codes. Because 2192 (Hexadecimal) equals 8594 (Decimal), just hold down an Alt key while typing 8594 on the numerical keypad.
This works for the decimal value of all hexadecimal codes. I keep a nearby cheat-sheet of the Unicode symbols that I use often. It's from an Excel spreadsheet that contains the Hex codes (I look them up in the Character Map tool) and a formula reference to each code to convert it to decimal. So if cell D5 contains 25BA, the Unicode (Hex) value for the right facing triangle you see on an audio or video "Play" button, the formula =HEX2DEC(D5) would show 9658, the decimal equivalent. In Word, you can type Alt+9658 to get that triangle.
 
 

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