Turn formatting marks on or off

When composing an e-mail message, you might see what appear as strange symbols within your text. These symbols are actually formatting marks. Formatting marks are used to assist with text layout. They do not appear on a printout of the message.

Example of formatting marks in an e-mail message
Examples of formatting marks are circled in this illustration. Examples shown include space, manual line break, paragraph, tab, and non-breaking space.

Editing a message with formatting marks enabled is a personal preference. You might find them more useful when you are designing content with a specific look — or layout — in mind. Formatting marks are turned off by default in Microsoft Outlook. To turn formatting marks on or off, do the following:

  • In the message window, on the Format Text tab, in the Paragraph group, click Show/Hide.

    Show/Hide command in the Paragraph group

    Keyboard shortcut     To turn formatting marks on or off, press CTRL+SHIFT+*. You must use the asterisk on the standard keyboard, not on a numeric keypad.

When you turn on or off formatting marks, your choice will remain in effect for all subsequent messages you compose, reply to, or forward.

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Applies To: Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2007, Outlook 2016 Preview

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