My favorite “Power Button” in Microsoft Word

There are a lot of extra characters running around on your Word 2013 document that you can’t normally see. Every time you press a key – whether it’s the space bar, tab or enter – Word records it in your document. Add in to that mix the special section, page and column breaks, as well as fields for your Index and References, and you’ve got a stew that can really mess up your layouts.

The first step when working on the layout of a document is to look for those hidden features that affect the document so strongly.

What Is It?

The Show/Hide button is the key to seeing these heretofore invisible items, and it’s a toggle button. That means it is like a light switch, either on or off. Many people may already have experience with the Show/Hide button because they either:

  1. Accidentally turned it on, or
  2. Inherited a document with Show/Hide already turned on.

Where Is it?

The Show/Hide button looks like a paragraph return, and is in the Paragraph group on the Home tab. Turning it on and off is a simple as clicking on it. For you power users, the keyboard shortcut for Show/Hide is Ctrl + Shift + 8.

The location of the Show/Hide button in Microsoft Word 2013.

You’ll notice power users flicking it on and off as they massage a document into the shape they desire. If you look closely at the figure above, you can see paragraph returns, but also tabs and a page break. Text that has a style rule applied to it has a small dot in the margin beside it.

Add the keyboard shortcut for Show/Hide to your repertoire and you’ll be much faster on the draw when it comes to laying out complex Microsoft Word documents.

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