How to Hide Formatting Marks in Word 2010: A Step-by-Step Guide

Hiding formatting marks in Word 2010 is a simple process that can declutter your document and make it easier to focus on the content. To do this, you just need to click on the ‘Home’ tab, and in the ‘Paragraph’ group, click on the ‘Show/Hide’ button, which looks like a paragraph mark (¶). Clicking this button will toggle the display of formatting marks on and off.

After completing this action, all the formatting marks like spaces, paragraph marks, and tab symbols will be hidden, making your document look cleaner. If you need to see them again, simply click the same button.


When you’re working on a document in Microsoft Word, there is nothing more distracting than a bunch of formatting marks cluttering up your screen. Those little dots, arrows, and symbols might be helpful when you’re trying to figure out why your layout isn’t quite right, but most of the time, they’re just in the way. You’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered how to get rid of them. In fact, knowing how to hide formatting marks is a valuable skill for anyone who uses Word 2010. This guide is perfect for students, professionals, and anyone in between who uses Word for their writing needs.

Formatting marks are characters added by Word that represent spaces, tabs, and paragraph breaks. These non-printing characters can be very useful for troubleshooting and fine-tuning the layout of your document. However, they can also be a source of distraction or confusion, especially for those who are not familiar with their purpose. The good news is that hiding them is a straightforward task that can significantly enhance your writing experience.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Hide Formatting Marks in Word 2010

This tutorial will guide you through the quick and easy steps to hide formatting marks in Word 2010. Let’s clean up that document!

Step 1: Open Your Document

Start by opening the document in which you want to hide formatting marks.

Opening your document is the first step because you can’t change the settings of a document that isn’t open. Make sure that it’s the correct document where you want the changes to be applied.

Step 2: Click on the ‘Home’ Tab

Look towards the top of the Word window and click on the ‘Home’ tab to reveal the Paragraph group.

The ‘Home’ tab contains many basic and frequently used features in Word, including the Paragraph group where the Show/Hide button is located.

Step 3: Find the ‘Show/Hide’ Button

In the Paragraph group, locate the ‘Show/Hide’ button, which looks like a paragraph mark (¶).

This button is a toggle switch for showing and hiding formatting marks. It’s useful because you can quickly turn the marks on or off as needed.

Step 4: Click the ‘Show/Hide’ Button

Click the ‘Show/Hide’ button to hide the formatting marks. Click it again if you want to show the marks later.

When you click the button, all the formatting marks in your document will disappear, leaving only the text. This makes it easier to focus on the writing itself.


Improved ReadabilityThe absence of formatting marks can make the document easier to read and edit, enhancing the overall writing and editing experience.
Decreased DistractionsWithout the clutter of formatting marks, you can concentrate better on the content of your document.
Toggle FeatureThe ability to quickly toggle the formatting marks on and off is convenient for when you do need to check the layout of your document.


Troubleshooting IssuesWhen formatting marks are hidden, it can be challenging to troubleshoot issues with spacing and layout.
HabituationSome users may become too reliant on the clean view and forget how to work with formatting marks when necessary.
Overlooking MistakesImportant formatting details can be overlooked if they’re always hidden, potentially leading to errors in the document.

Additional Information

Knowing how to hide formatting marks in Word 2010 can streamline your writing process, but there are a couple of additional things to remember. First, hiding formatting marks does not remove them from your document; it simply makes them invisible. They will still be there, doing their job behind the scenes.

Secondly, if you’re working with others who prefer to see formatting marks, consider toggling them off only while you’re actively writing or editing. Then, turn them back on before sharing the document. Collaborating with a team often means making compromises, and when it comes to formatting marks, visibility can be a personal preference.

Lastly, for those who are particularly distracted by formatting marks, there’s also an option in Word’s settings to hide certain marks or all of them by default when you open a new document. This way, you won’t have to remember to hide them each time you start working.


  1. Open Your Document
  2. Click on the ‘Home’ Tab
  3. Find the ‘Show/Hide’ Button
  4. Click the ‘Show/Hide’ Button

Frequently Asked Questions

Will hiding formatting marks affect how my document prints?

No, hiding formatting marks is only for display purposes and won’t affect the printed document.

Can I hide specific formatting marks, like just spaces or paragraph marks?

Yes, you can customize which formatting marks you want to see by going into Word’s settings.

What if I hide formatting marks and then can’t remember how to bring them back?

Simply click the ‘Show/Hide’ button again, and the marks will reappear.

Can I set Word to hide formatting marks by default for all documents?

Yes, you can adjust the default settings in Word to always hide formatting marks.

Will hiding formatting marks also hide comments and tracked changes?

No, comments and tracked changes will still be visible even when formatting marks are hidden.


In conclusion, hiding formatting marks in Word 2010 can create a smoother, more focused writing and editing environment. It’s a quick fix to a potentially distracting problem, and now that you know how to do it, you can toggle those pesky marks on and off with ease.

Remember, though, that while a clear screen can aid concentration, formatting marks are there for a reason. Use the show/hide feature wisely, and don’t forget the underlying structure they represent. Happy writing, and may your documents always be impeccably formatted, whether you can see those formatting marks or not!

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy