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: Shortcut for Show/Hide.

Shortcut for Show/Hide

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 9, 2013)

5

Word has a number of non-printing characters that it commonly uses in a document. These characters include spaces, tabs, paragraph marks, and a few other such characters. When you are editing and formatting documents, it is often useful to view these characters, as they can affect the appearance of your document.

The normal way to display the non-printing characters is to click on the Show/Hide tool (it looks like it has a backwards P on it). If you are loathe to remove your hands from the keyboard in order to use the mouse, you might want to memorize a quick little shortcut: Ctrl+* (that's the asterisk), which can also be written as Shift+Ctrl+8. This shortcut key toggles the Show/Hide tool on and off.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3456) 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: Shortcut for Show/Hide.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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Comments for this tip:

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What is 7 + 8?

2016-12-17 02:18:55

Timothy Takemoto timtak

Thank you again. You are the main Word man.

On my Japanese computer keyboard the asterisk is not above the 8 and I can vouch for the fact that in such situation it is Ctrl Shift 8 and not Ctrl + * (the latter, above the colon, does nothing)..


2016-09-06 13:32:12

Ayyaz

Nice explaination


2015-04-08 20:53:04

anonymous

Thank you!!


2013-02-11 12:42:11

Peter Johnson

That’s a really useful tip. I use the ribbon interface and find that I often want turn editing marks on or off when I am not on the Home Tab. To get round this I always have this button on my Quick Access Toolbar. This method is even better …


2013-02-11 10:08:13

Jessica Letteney

This is one of my top 5 keyboard shortcuts, especially when I am doing layout. It is really helpful for toggling quickly back and forth between seeing section breaks and paragraph marks (as well as field codes, etc.) and not seeing them. **Remember to toggle OFF before updating the table of contents for the last time, because the visible field codes can affect the position of text, tables, figures.


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