Show paragraph marks and tabs

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We show you how to clean up after people who inevitably type two spaces after every period – quickly and easily.

My last missive on co-opting the “backwards P thingy” button on the Standard toolbar brought an avalanche of mail.

And I was shocked!

Many of you took me to task for telling people to turn off “Show Paragraph Marks” and “Show Tabs”!

Some ‘Softies reading this newsletter must be chortling at this moment. You folks who were kind enough to write probably don’t realize it, but I have been fighting Microsoft for almost ten years on this very point. (And losing, too, it must be said.) I believe that EVERY Word user should always, always, always have paragraph marks and tab characters visible on the screen. Otherwise, you don’t stand a snowball’s chance in Phuket of figuring out what went wrong with your formatting.

In fact, my ranting about the necessity of showing paragraph marks goes all the way back to the very first issue of Office for Mere Mortals, and I’ve repeated it a hundred times since.

My objection with the “backwards P thingy” button – yes, I know the character’s called a pilcrow – is that clicking on it shows all of those horrible dots. I think it reminds me of acne as a teenager. Anyway, even though some of you love the dots, I hate ’em, but I do want the ability to turn paragraph marks and tab characters on and off. That’s why I wrote the macro in the last article.



So many of you wrote expressing your angst about cleaning up after people who inevitably type two spaces after every period that I figured I’d devote this issue to showing you how to get rid of the double spaces – easily and quickly.

In fact, you can record a macro that does the trick, and it’ll take you all of about thirty seconds. Here’s how:

> Click Tools | Macro | Record New Macro

> In the Macro Name box type ReplaceTwoSpaces (or something equally indicative). Click OK.

> The macro recorder is going. You can see the Recording toolbar.

> Click Edit | Replace. In the Find What box type a period followed by two spaces. In the Replace With box type a period followed by one space. Click Replace All.

> Over on the Recording toolbar click the button on the left – the one that says Stop Recording.

You now have a macro called ReplaceTwoSpaces that replaces every occurrence of period-space-space with period-space.

To make put a button on one of your toolbars to make it easier to run that macro:

> Click Tools | Customize | Commands.

> Make sure the box marked Save in: says

> Under Categories (on the left) click Macros

> Under Commands (on the right) click and drag Normal.NewMacros.ReplaceTwoSpaces to a convenient location on any of your toolbars.

> Right-click the new toolbar button, which says Normal.NewMacros.ReplaceTwoSpaces, and in the Name box, type a much better name for the toolbar button (say, ZapSpaces).

> In the Customize dialog box, click Close.

That’s it. In the future, any time you want to zap out those extra spaces, just click the ZapSpaces toolbar button.



One important additional comment about Showing Field Codes (as opposed to Field Results) which I discussed in the second last and last article of Office for Mere Mortals.

There are two specific field codes that don’t appear even if you tell Word to show Field Codes: the {xe} field (which produces an entry in the document’s Index) and the {tc} field (an unusual field that can be used to produced entries in the Table of Contents).

As Suzanne Barnhill so accurately (and quickly!) pointed out, in order to see those two Field Codes, you not only have to make Word Show Field Codes, you also have to make Word show you hidden text (Tools | Options | View and check the box marked Hidden Text).

It’s been that way since the dawn of Word history….


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