Software & Apps MS Office How to Reveal Formatting Marks and Codes in Word Go behind the scenes of your text to resolve formatting issues Share Pin Email Print Westend61 / Getty Images MS Office Word Excel Powerpoint Outlook By James Marshall Writer James Marshall is a pro journalist who covers technology and computer troubleshooting. He is also skilled with Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, and other word processors. our editorial process James Marshall Updated November 04, 2019 Microsoft Word has many features that format documents for optimal readability. These features include bullets, numbered lists, page breaks, margins, columns, and more. But things can get tricky when trying to make a document look a particular way. To see how Word structures the document, view the formatting marks and codes associated with the text. There are several ways to see these codes. Instructions in this article apply to Word for Office 365, Word 2019, Word 2016, and Word 2013. Temporarily Show Formatting Symbols View the formatting Word uses in a document to fine-tune the way the document looks. To reveal the formatting symbols, go to the ribbon and select Home. In the Paragraph group, select Show Formatting Symbols (the icon looks like a paragraph mark). The formatting symbols appear in the document and each symbol is represented by a specific mark: Spaces display as dots.Tabs are indicated with arrows.The end of each paragraph is marked with a paragraph sign.Page breaks display as dotted lines. To hide the formatting symbols, select Show Formatting Symbols. Permanently Show Formatting Symbols If you find that having the formatting symbols visible makes working with Word easier and you want to have them visible all the time, here's how: On the ribbon, select File. Choose Options. In the Word Options dialog box, select Display. In the Always show these formatting marks on the screen section, select Show all formatting marks. Select OK to save your changes. Display the Reveal Formatting Panel To find more information about the formatting of a Word document, display the Reveal Formatting panel. Press Shift+F1 on the keyboard to display the Reveal Formatting panel. To view information about a portion of the document, select that text. In the Reveal Formatting panel, select a link to see detailed information about the formatting components and to make changes to the formatting. To close the panel, select X.