How to Hide or Show White Space in Long Word Documents

by Dawn Bjork, MCT, MOSM | The Software Pro

If you work with long documents in Microsoft Word, you should know about the Show/Hide white space feature. Now, you may already know about the Show/Hide option in Word to display non-printing characters. You’ll find this under the Home tab, and it is the paragraph mark icon that you can enable, turn on, or turn off, to show or to see some of the hidden information in that document including hard returns, spaces, tabs, section breaks, and page breaks. And, with long documents, I would recommend that you keep this turned on. But what about the vertical white space between pages in long Word documents? How can you make it easier to navigate, edit, and format your Word files? Let’s look at the simple steps to show or hide vertical white space in long Word documents.

Working with Page Breaks

The Show/Hide white space feature is especially helpful if you have a longer document that might have page breaks in it. When you want to insert a page break to move the text to the next page, press [Ctrl] + [Enter]. You can also choose the Insert tab in the ribbon and then pick Page Break. With page breaks, one of the things that can happen is we can have these massive amounts of white space, especially if the document is zoomed and we’re scrolling quite a bit as we’re moving from one section or one page to another.

Double Click to Show or Hide White Space

Here’s the trick. Move to the top or bottom margin of that page. Hover your mouse over the edge of the page and notice “Double-click to hide white space.” Simply double click and now that extra white space is being hidden. We can bring it back at any time but this can make it much easier to navigate through lengthy documents without seeing all of that white space in the document margins and where you might have page breaks.

Any time you want to display white space in the document, hover over the edge of the pages and notice, “Double-click to show white space.” Double click and now we have it back. Also, make sure to take advantage of the document view options under the View tab so you can display your document in any way that’s helpful to you whether or not you show white space.

Changing how you view the vertical white space can simplify editing long documents.


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Dawn Bjork is The Software Pro®, a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), and is a certified Microsoft Office Specialist (MOSM) Master, and Microsoft Office expert. Dawn is passionate about sharing smart and easy ways to increase your software productivity through her work as a conference speaker, software trainer, computer consultant, and author of 9 books. Discover more software tips, techniques, and timesavers at TheSoftwarePro.com. Dawn also shares oodles of daily tips on Twitter and Facebook.

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