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: Symbols for Non-Printing Characters.

Symbols for Non-Printing Characters

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 27, 2017)

When David uses the Show/Hide tool to display the non-printing characters in a document, he finds it helpful in figuring out formatting. By now he knows the meanings of many of the characters that are used to represent non-printing characters (paragraph, space, tab, etc.). There are other characters, however, that he can only guess at, like the degree symbol in place of some spaces or the tiny filled-in square that he thinks is something to do with orphan paragraphs and keeping things together. David wonders if there is a comprehensive list of all the non-printing character symbols and their meanings.

There are several places on the Web where you can find good information about Word's non-printing characters. Perhaps the best one available, however, is the one at the Word MVP site. Here's the article:

http://wordmvp.com/faqs/formatting/NonPrintChars.htm

The article is quite comprehensive, and it includes images that show what the symbol for each non-printing character looks like.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9405) 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: Symbols for Non-Printing Characters.

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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