The word processing program Microsoft Word has a function that allows you to view various formatting symbols within a document. This can be helpful if you are trying to achieve a particular layout and you want to see exactly where such things as tab stops and paragraph breaks are. However, if the feature is switched on when you don't want it, it can be an irritating visual distraction. Fortunately, it's not difficult to switch formatting symbols off. The following instructions apply to the 2007 and 2010 versions of Word.
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Click "Start," then "All Programs," and launch Microsoft Word. Open an existing document so that you can see the formatting symbols.
Press the "Home" button on the top left hand corner of the Word page. In the middle of the menu that appears you'll see a paragraph symbol, two parallel vertical lines with a semicircle appended on the left.
Click on the symbol and the formatting symbols should disappear. If they remain, click on the Microsoft Office logo on the top left-hand side of the page.
Choose "Word Options" from the bottom of the pop-up Microsoft Office menu. Choose "Display" from the right-hand menu. View the section headed "Always show these formatting marks on the screen." If any of the boxes in this section are ticked, untick them.
Tips and warnings
- To switch formatting symbols back on, press the "Home" button and click on the paragraph symbol.
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