How to Remove All End-of-Line Characters in Word Documents

Updated February 21, 2017

When you create a Word document, each line ends with either a manual line break (soft return) or a paragraph break (hard return). A soft return appears when you press the "Shift" and "Enter" keys, while the hard return appears when you press "Enter." You won't see the manual line or paragraph break marks in Word unless you make formatting marks visible. Word can remove these end-of-line characters from your document automatically, thanks to the "Find" and "Replace" tools.

Open the Word document containing the characters you want to remove.

Select the "Home" tab, and go to the "Paragraph" group. Click the "Show/Hide" button to make formatting marks visible.

Return to the "Home" tab, and select "Replace" from the "Editing" group or press "Ctrl+H" on your keyboard. The "Find and Replace" dialogue box opens to the "Replace" tab.

Click the "More" button to expand the dialogue box.

Place your cursor in the "Find what" text field.

Click the "Special" button, and select "Paragraph Mark" from the pop-up list. Or type "^p" (without quotes) into the text field to remove hard returns. To remove soft returns, click the "Special" button and select "Manual Line Break," or type "^l" into the text field (without quotes).

Leave the "Replace with" text field blank, and click the "Replace All" button. The end-of-line characters are removed from Word.

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Foye Robinson is a freelance writer and Web designer with Precision Web Crafting. She shares her love for family/relationships, fitness and Web design in her writing. Robinson holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Webster University and also writes miscellaneous articles and novels.