Weekly Computer Tip # 394
10 May 2013

Quickly show (or hide) paragraph marks (Word and Outlook 2003-2010)

Are you using somebody else's Word documents, but don't have a clue what's going on? (Did they use tabs, or spaces or tables? Is there a page break or section break?) Or perhaps you are creating an index and cannot bear the fact that it automatically turns on the display of paragraph marks and other non-printing formatting marks as soon as you mark an entry for an index?

You might know you can show or hide formatting marks by clicking on the Show/Hide button in the Paragraph group on the Home tab. (The button looks like a reversed P.) But do you know its keyboard shortcut, saving you time - and frustration.

Here's how:

  1. Press CTRL + SHIFT + 8 to switch on.
  2. Press CTRL + SHIFT + 8 to switch off. (It's a toggle.)

You sometimes see that the shortcut is listed as CTRL + * (for example, hover over the Show/Hide button on the ribbon) but as you cannot use the asterisk on the numeric keypad of your keyboard I thought this might be easier to understand.

By the way, as the title suggests. this also works in Outlook, which is good to know as Outlook has no Show/Hide button.