There are many ways that plain old text can be jazzed up to give the reader something a little more than the same old format every time. In Microsoft word, formatting marks show you the different formatting that has been applied throughout your Word document. For example, formatting marks show you where section or page pages have been inserted. In the following tip, you’ll learn what the various formatting marks mean as well as how to control formatting marks.

By default, formatting marks are not visible within a document; however, you can easily turn them on. When you do, Word displays different characters which represent specific formatting marks. For example, the symbol What Do Formatting Marks Mean?represents paragraph marks. The various formatting marks are shown below.

What Do Formatting Marks Mean?Paragraph mark

Column Break

What Do Formatting Marks Mean?Page Break

What Do Formatting Marks Mean?Continuous Section Break

What Do Formatting Marks Mean?Line and Page Break

What Do Formatting Marks Mean?Line Break

. Space

° Nonbreaking Space

? Tab

¬ Conditional Hyphen

¤ End Of Cell Marker (tables)

What Do Formatting Marks Mean?Anchor

To show formatting characters, click the ‘Show/Hide paragraph marks and other hidden formatting symbols’ button.

What Do Formatting Marks Mean?

In Word 2010, you can also control formatting marks via Word Options. Click the File tab, Options, and then click Display. From the window, you can control what formatting marks are shown throughout your document.

What Do Formatting Marks Mean?

If you select any of the formatting boxes, such as Tab characters, Hidden text and Spaces, they are visible in your document at all times, regardless of whether the Show formatting marks button is off.

If you select the Show all formatting marks option at the bottom of the list, all of the formatting marks are visible within in your document. Selecting this option is the same thing as selecting the Show Formatting Marks button on the ribbon. So, as you can probably see, selecting this option is very much redundant to selecting the Show formatting marks button on the ribbon. If you want to show formatting marks, it’s much easier to use the button.