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Reveal codes in Word like Wordperfect

If there’s one thing people miss when they switch from Wordperfect to Microsoft Word, it’s the old Reveal Codes function. This lets you view and fine tune document formatting and fix weirdness. Word has a similar function that nobody talks about. Here’s how to enable the closest thing to reveal codes in Word.

This trick works in recent versions of Word newer than Word 2007. So it’s been around a little while.

Reveal codes in Word

Make cleaning up a document easier by showing the formatting.

On the ribbon, in the Home section, there’s a little paragraph marker. Click that button.

Word will then show the document markup. This includes paragraph marks at the end of each paragraph, and textual cues to the formatting, including page and section breaks, and those ever-problematic nonbreaking spaces.

A keyboard shortcut to save time

If you use this feature a lot, you can save time by using the keyboard shortcut CTRL-* to toggle it on and off. I love keyboard shortcuts because they are much faster than using a mouse. I don’t have to take my  hands off the keyboard, and I don’t have to click some other part of the ribbon and lose what I was doing.

What’s it good for?

If someone you know carries on about reveal codes, you may wonder what the fuss is about. When you get used to using it, though, it’s hard to live without it.

If your document is behaving strangely and you haven’t been able to fix it using the icons on the ribbon, this view often allows you to quickly find and correct the offending formatting. Or it can make editing easier. I use this trick a lot when I landscape just part of a document.

If you work with a stickler for detail, or you’re a stickler for detail yourself, this little-known feature can be a lifesaver. It doesn’t quite show everything that Wordperfect’s equivalent does. But it’s the closest thing you’ll find to reveal codes in Word.

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