Why is There a Weird Backwards P When I Create a New Document in Word?

Have you found that when you create a new document in Microsoft Word, that the initial blank page has a weird symbol that looks like a backwards “P”? And that as you type and create your document, other weird characters are showing up as well?

Don’t worry, there isn’t actually anything wrong with Word, there’s just a setting that has been previously enabled that persists even after Word has been closed. These symbols are appearing because formatting marks were previously chosen to be shown.

How to Stop Showing Formatting Marks in Microsoft Word

The steps in this article were performed in Microsoft Word for Office 365, but will work in most other versions of Microsoft Word as well.

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word.

Step 2: Select the Home tab at the top of the window.

select the home tab

Step 3: Click the Show/Hide button in the Paragraph section of the ribbon to hide the formatting marks.

how to hide formatting marks in microsoft word

That backwards “P” symbol should now be gone, as well as any other formatting marks that were appearing in your document.

Do you work with others on Word documents, and you’re noticing that comments are being printed? Learn how to stop printing these comments by adjusting a setting on the Print menu.