Getting strange ¶ characters in MS Word: how to remove them

Those strange ¶ symbols are called pilcrow signs or paragraph signs and they show the end of paragraphs. They’re useful to see when you’re formatting and editing e-books and don’t print at all, but could be distracting.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to remove them.

  • Click the top menu item Tools->Options
  • Click View
  • Look for ‘Formatting Marks’, and uncheck the option ‘All’
  • Click OK

Or for newer versions…

  • Click the top menu item ‘Review’
  • Look for ‘Show Markup’ and click
  • Look for ‘Formatting’ and uncheck

OR

  • Click View
  • Move down to Toolbars and choose Standard, for standard toolbar
  • You should see a Pilcrow icon on the toolbar that you can click to either show or hide

Finally, Windows 10 makes it much easier to find. Just click the ‘Home’ tab, and you should see the Pilcrow icon somewhere near the top middle. You can click it to turn it off and click it again to turn it on.

Hope this helps 🙂

{ 107 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna September 10, 2011 at 9:33 am

I like this information. It was precise, systematized and to the points. Great work!

Reply

lucarinf September 13, 2011 at 4:22 am

Thank you Anna. My pleasure 🙂

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sandra October 23, 2015 at 1:52 pm

THANKS!! i use Win 7 and found that ‘pilcrow’ sign in toolbar..(/ps. i hated win10, its slowest and ugliest system ever! those who wish to return to their previous op.system they have option to cancel it within 25 -30 days (enter control panel..or follow youtube videos…). thanks again for helping removing anoying pilcrow

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lucarinf October 23, 2015 at 5:18 pm

And thank you for the advice regarding Windows 10 🙂 We avoided downloading it, hearing so many people complain about it.

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HAMESH November 8, 2015 at 6:04 pm

THANK YOU SO MUCH I HAVE GONE MAD WITH THIS PILCROW

BUT FOR WORD 2013

FILES ——-MOVE DOWN——-OPTIONS——-DISPLAY——–UNCHECK ALL FORMATING MARKS—
BINGOOO

electronic October 1, 2011 at 2:40 am

Thanks much! Subscribed via rss.

Reply

dooner April 16, 2016 at 10:30 pm

Files>options>display>uncheck all formatting marks

For word 2016

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Sidney August 2, 2016 at 3:23 pm

Worked great for Word 2010 as well..THanks

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Thank you 🙂 Will be posting more when I find the time.

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Anna Pampani April 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Thank you .It worked great.

Reply

lucarinf April 10, 2013 at 7:53 am

So glad it helped 🙂

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Tanuj Kumar September 28, 2013 at 11:38 am

It didnt work. I tried uncheking formatting but whenever i am restarting word it comes again. i didnt evenn go when i uncheked formatting. i also tried uninstalling and restalling office.
please guide. it distracts me from working

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lucarinf November 14, 2013 at 6:09 am

My apologies, I haven’t been on this blog for quite awhile. If you’re still having that problem, maybe the information on this page might help.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-ca/word-help/show-or-hide-formatting-marks-HA010370559.aspx

To turn off formatting marks:

  • Click the File tab.
  • Under Help, click Options.
  • Click Display.
  • Under Always show these formatting marks on the screen, uncheck the boxes for any formatting marks that you do not want to show.

Hope this helps.

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brian February 5, 2015 at 1:14 pm

Great, your info was great, was easy and worked. Thanks alot, you saved me. I had this symbol ¶ added into all my documents. Thanks again

Reply

Toks June 30, 2015 at 12:24 pm

Thanks a bunch for the info. It was very helpful and saved much needed time today…

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Asif March 13, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Hiii…
I am getting that strange symbol in my microsoft word 13 and I still have it. I have tried those steps that you have suggested. But it didnt work for me 🙁 . Could someone help me?

Reply

lucarinf April 2, 2014 at 7:38 am

Have you tried this? Maybe the information on this page might help.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-ca/word-help/show-or-hide-formatting-marks-HA010370559.aspx

To turn off formatting marks:

Click the File tab.
Under Help, click Options.
Click Display.
Under ‘Always show these formatting marks on the screen’, uncheck the boxes for any formatting marks that you do not want to show.

Hope this helps.

Reply

Vijay Avarapu March 29, 2015 at 2:39 am

thanks alot for ur blog and to u too.. 😀

Reply

Aziz October 29, 2015 at 8:42 pm

Hi there every body
Thanks you very much, this solution has solved my issue.

Reply

Tarun March 18, 2014 at 4:29 am

I like this information. It was precise, systematized and to the points. Great work!

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pujari April 1, 2014 at 9:36 am

usefull..thnaks

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Prasanna June 5, 2014 at 1:51 pm

This article helped a lot. Thanks a ton !

Reply

andy July 14, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Thank you !!!!!

Reply

Mekala September 9, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Office 2013 – Home tab there is ¶ character before style box, if you click that accidental, this weird characters appear. Unchecked ¶ to remove this mark.

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sandy October 30, 2014 at 7:08 am

For word 2007,
Go to Home –> Under paragraph tab –> Uncheck the symbol which is appearing

In my case this symbol “¶ ” was appearing.

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hmt0211 October 31, 2014 at 11:41 am

tq so much as I eventually can remove all these kind of weird symbols alry ^^

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robinson November 27, 2014 at 12:29 am

Thanks for the help 🙂

Reply

deb January 12, 2015 at 9:54 am

Fantastic! Took 2 seconds to clear it. Thanks

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Bridgette January 13, 2015 at 6:22 am

Great! this really helps those who don’t know much about software. I highly approve.

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Bimal January 16, 2015 at 10:29 am

Thanks

Reply

paul March 24, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Hi!
Do you know those little white rectangles that you have to fill in when doing a grammar exercise online? I need to know how to remove them using Find/Replace but I don’t know how they are named. Can you help me?
Thanks!!!

Reply

Ahmed nabil March 25, 2015 at 9:17 am

u did really helped me , thanks alot 🙂

Reply

sylvia rigby April 5, 2015 at 1:42 pm

thank you thought i was never going to get rid of it thanks for information

Reply

Saravanan April 14, 2015 at 1:54 pm

Thank you

Reply

abdullah May 9, 2015 at 10:35 am

You saved my life.

Thanks a lot dude <3

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Luis Arteaga May 14, 2015 at 12:47 am

You save my life buddy, i even uninstall Ms office and reinstall it again because the symbols i was getting, no way to get rid of them, you save my life, thanks a lot.

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Joe May 14, 2015 at 8:23 pm

Thanks for this I must have keyed in a shortcut by accident and was tearing my hair out trying to remove them.

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Edmund May 27, 2015 at 6:53 am

Thanks

the below worked like a Bomb, how did it get there in the first place?

Click the top menu item Tools->Options
Click View
Look for ‘Formatting Marks’, and uncheck the option ‘All’
Click OK

Reply

Indika June 4, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Thx you so much….

Reply

Rakesh Sharma July 29, 2015 at 6:17 am

This page is very helpful and took away my big headache. Thank you.

Reply

Karen August 16, 2015 at 4:53 am

Thank you. so helpful. solve my problem 🙂

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sridhar August 20, 2015 at 2:41 pm

excellent . to the point.

Reply

Manjula August 21, 2015 at 4:31 am

Thanks a lot it was very helpful

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Dan q September 15, 2015 at 8:32 am

none of this worked

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Raji September 30, 2015 at 11:13 am

nice. it helps. thanks.

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Ankit October 6, 2015 at 10:41 am

Great information but in my MS Office word 2010 it didn;t worked I tried all the three ways

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lucarinf October 6, 2015 at 4:21 pm

Is it under the Home tab? You might see the pilcrow ¶ sign close to the middle top. Clicking it turns it on and off. Hope this helps 🙂

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Giribabu June 9, 2016 at 5:59 pm

Even i faced same issue…In Home Tab –> middle top (you can see pilcrow symbol select/deselect it’ll disappear…Good it helps for me….

Thanks lucarinf

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dennis October 19, 2015 at 5:53 am

another easy way to removes these annoying icons is to open the document (microsoft 2010 version) select home page, have a look across the top of the page, where you see all the different actions you can perform, like font size, type, centre,align text etc and you will see the actual icon, simply check it and boosh, it’s gone. simples.

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pramodh October 29, 2015 at 11:54 am

really help full bro nice job keep it up….

Reply

Tarah Clizbe November 1, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Marvelous, what a blog it is! This web site provides useful facts
to us, keep it up.

Reply

Music Man November 13, 2015 at 7:26 am

Perfect fix. How did the symbol get there in the first place? I didn’t change any settings in MS Word 2003 and when I opened an old saved file today there it was.

It was very annoying but I am grateful for this blog which took care of the issue.

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Joe November 19, 2015 at 12:33 pm

Thanks for the help here, every word document I had ever created had a pilcrow symbol in it… there gone now thanks to you folks!!

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Khark November 22, 2015 at 8:46 am

but i am using office 2003. but i am not able to remove this b&*lshit sign.. Plzz help..

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lucarinf November 24, 2015 at 9:01 am

Could Alt+v+s help to toggle the paragraph marks? Someone else suggested this keyboard shortcut for Word 2003. Hope it helps.

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Alexa November 25, 2015 at 3:20 am

Thank you. I was crying.

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Abdirisak March 7, 2016 at 4:36 am

me too almost cried,lol

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Ujjwal November 27, 2015 at 5:03 am

Thanks. This was very useful..

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Jenica December 13, 2015 at 12:32 am

Thank You for the information!! Very helpful!! 🙂
-J

Reply

Abhisek December 14, 2015 at 9:47 am

Thank You very much…. It helped

Reply

Chester January 6, 2016 at 8:44 am

Thanks alot!!!

Reply

Shahbaz Khan February 23, 2016 at 3:22 pm

MS Word 2013 navigate to home tab and find q symbol and click on it then it will be remove.

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Aung Thu February 28, 2016 at 8:22 am

Thanks a million!!!!

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Marty March 3, 2016 at 10:23 am

None of these worked, and I want to smash my computer.

How many sheer hours, days, weeks, months do we spend trying to get these stupid machines to just WORK –

WHY does WORD assume I want these little markings? Who uses them, and why?

WHY WHY WHY WHY must anyone who tries to use a computer be required not to edit their photos, not to type a document, not to use various apps, but instead to waste their lives TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG AND JUST FIX IT.

Instead of googling “Funny marks on word,” coming here, going down the list and the MARKS ARE STILL THERE, and finally you say to yourself, “Ok, the document has to be written and printed, so i guess I HAVE to have these marks.”

20 minutes of your life wasted – AGAIN. Beautiful day outside? No, you will waste your life trying to get the computer to do what typewriters did just fine – “I need to type a document, I scroll a piece of paper into the typewriter, I type what I need, pull out the paper and walk away, onto other things.”

Instead, it’s open WORD and – SURPRISE! Little marks on your paper that won’t go away and YOU DIDN’T WANT THEM THERE TO BEGIN WITH.

Same thing with looking up things on Youtube. “You will watch this stupid commercial for something you haven’t the slightest interest in buying.”

SIGH
SIGH
SIGH
SIGH
SIGH

8:30 AM and I’m already angry….

SIGH

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lucarinf March 3, 2016 at 10:49 am

Computer frustrations, we’ve all been there 😉 But if you print your word document, those funny marks won’t get printed, or at least they’re not supposed to. Hope this works.

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Abdirisak March 7, 2016 at 4:32 am

Thank you very much,i was really scared when i first see that symbol it tough it cant be fixed,but wth ur help i fix it .

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G Wilson March 9, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Thank you very much – those pilcow things were only on my document for a minute and driving me crazy!

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Tauseef March 11, 2016 at 3:00 am

Thank you very much, it really helped. those annoying marks are gone now.

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shweta March 18, 2016 at 4:04 am

Thanks a lot…I was really struggling with this one…You saved lot of my time….

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Mustafa March 28, 2016 at 11:19 pm

Thank you so much…
helped me alot…

Reply

cml April 1, 2016 at 1:16 am

You solved my problem!
Thank you so much!

Reply

D April 3, 2016 at 3:02 pm

I am not technologically savvy, but your instructions helped me fix, in my opinion, the problem of what I call the little backwards P. Thank you so much!!!!

Reply

Charli April 13, 2016 at 4:22 am

I got this website from my pal who told me regarding
this web page and now this time I am visiting this website and reading
very informative articles here.

Reply

JK April 22, 2016 at 8:20 pm

Thank you Hamesh! I was going bonkers getting those marks off my docs!

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Inaaya April 26, 2016 at 9:55 am

Thank you so much. I was stuck badly with a report on the word doc. This was very helpful 🙂

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bruce April 27, 2016 at 2:03 pm

thanks for the info!!!

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ram May 11, 2016 at 2:56 am

PRESS Ctrl + Shift + 8

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Tanuj Sood May 19, 2016 at 1:28 am

Thank you sooo much… It was really irritating!!!

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Carlos Carpio May 19, 2016 at 12:05 pm

thakyou.. youre the best

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Jacqueline Stigman May 22, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Hi! I’m suddenly getting an UNFILLED in pilcrow in my word 7 document and I cannot remove it. Have never seen it before and if affects my ability to format the doc. It has resisted every attempt of mine to remove them. They are cropping up in place of the usual filled in pilcrow. Can you help? I’ve searched online but see nothing about this symbol. Thanks!

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lucarinf June 21, 2016 at 9:47 pm

Hello Jacqueline, Just found this info from Microsoft on How to reset character and style formatting in Word . Just select the text, and press CTRL+SPACEBAR (in Windows) or COMMAND+SHIFT+Z (on the Macintosh). Hope this helps. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/123302

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Jacqueline Stigman May 22, 2016 at 1:26 pm

I see you write so adding my website.

Reply

Gmarc May 26, 2016 at 7:51 pm

THANK YOU!!! I have been agonizing over this…fixed. No more weird symbols!BAM

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Mary Beth June 8, 2016 at 8:33 pm

THANK YOU!

Every once in a while I hit something accidentally and these show up. I know what they’re for, but I can never remember how to get rid of them. And “Help” never helps because I don’t know what to call the pilcrow icons. LOL!

Thanks for understanding my odd question!

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Efe June 19, 2016 at 2:43 am

Thanks for your post. Really helpful…

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Mitchell June 19, 2016 at 6:24 pm

Pesky pilcrow. Thx!

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satendra June 27, 2016 at 12:11 am

Thanks a lot

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Steven Coutoumanos July 5, 2016 at 9:37 pm

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

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Noelani July 11, 2016 at 5:53 pm

I have Windows 10 and tried this but it didn’t work. I used the route Review–> Show Markup–>Formatting
Any other suggestions?

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lucarinf August 5, 2016 at 1:35 am

Try HOME instead. Near the top middle, you should see the PILCROW symbol. Clicking it will turn it ON or OFF. Hope this helps.

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David Lee July 12, 2016 at 9:43 pm

Thanks! I was getting really mad at Microsoft until I found your post!
Microsoft, please expand the search words and phrases that will pick up this web page. It took me 2 hours to solve this mystery.

And, here is another helpful link for Marty: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anger_management 🙂

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priyanka July 20, 2016 at 1:37 pm

Helped alot.

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David Head August 1, 2016 at 11:48 am

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

One click did it. ….. I have no idea how it got started, but I sure am glad to be rid of all those extra marks.

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Shilpa August 5, 2016 at 12:23 am

Thx ….:)

Reply

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