Non-printing character in word processors

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Non-printing character or formatting marks are characters for content designing in word processors, which aren't displayed at printing. It is also possible to customize their display on the monitor. The most common non-printable characters in word processors are pilcrow, space, non-breaking space, Tab character etc.[1][2]


To display characters on the monitor screen in Microsoft Word (Home tab) or OpenOffice (upper panel), press the icon . The following symbols will be displayed.

  • Space – each pressing of the key will be displayed as ·
  • Non-breaking space (°) is a space character that prevents an automatic line break at its position.
  • Pilcrow ().
  • Line break () breaks the current line without new paragraph. It puts lines of text close together.
  • Tab character is used to align text horizontally to the next tab stop.
  • End-of-cell and end-of row markers (¤) appear automatically in each box when display of non-printable characters turned on.
  • Soft hyphen or nonbreaking hyphen (¬) is a hidden separator for hyphenation in the places specified by the user, regardless of the automatic hyphenation.[3]
  • ············Page Break············, ::::::::::Section Break:::::::::: or ············Column Break············

Key combinations[edit]

Name Common view Common key
Microsoft Word, LibreOffice, OpenOffice (from 3.0)
Key combination
in other word processors
Alt Key Codes[4]
Unicode name Unicode code (HEX) Unicode code (DEC)
Space · Space SPACE 0x20 0032
° Ctrl+⇧ Shift+Space Ctrl+Space for FrameMaker,
LyX (non-Mac),
OpenOffice (before 3.0), WordPerfect
Alt+0+1+6+0 or Alt+2+5+5 (not always works) NO-BREAK SPACE 00A0 0160
Pilcrow ↵ Enter Alt+0182
or Alt+20 (on number keyboard).
⇧ Shift+↵ Enter
Tab ↹
¬ Ctrl+- 2011
···Page Break··· Ctrl+↵ Enter

See also[edit]

  • Control characters


  1. Show or hide formatting marks
  2. nonprinting characters
  3. Insert a hyphen
  4. "Windows Alt Key Codes". Penn State University. 2010.

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