Friday, August 16, 2013


If you're using Microsoft Word 2007 or later, then on the home tab, you've probably seen the button that is the paragraph symbol or pilcrow. When you click on it, it adds a bunch of symbols into your word document like pilcrows, dots, arrows, and anchors. If you're not used to seeing them, they can get distracting and you probably just turn them off.

I'd actually encourage you to do the opposite and edit your document with those symbols turned on. Those symbols tell you a lot about your document, and they will make it easier to for you to edit the layout.

For example, the dots indicate where the space bar was used to insert a space. By having the symbols on, you can easily see where you have may have inadvertently inserted an extra space between a word. The ¶ symbol lets you know when the enter key was pressed. It can show you where paragraph breaks were intended. And the  tells you that the tab key was used to adjust where the text was started as opposed to using the tab stops.

By knowing what the symbols mean, you can see what you need to do to change the format. For example, if the text is indented but you don't see the symbol for the tab key, you'll know that the way to fix the layout is by using the tab stop - the backspace key won't work.

We'll discuss in greater detail how to properly layout a word document in future posts, and we'll explore how you can instantly tell by turning the symbols on just how familiar someone is with Microsoft Word.

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