Special types of spaces in Word documents
To show non-printable and white-space symbols in Microsoft Word, click the button button Show/Hide ¶ (or pressing Ctrl+* or Ctrl+Shift+8):
You will be able to see the following marks for white-space characters:
1) A little dot between words represents a normal space (also called word space):
A general rule of publishing is to use only one normal space between words (the only exception is a pre-formatted text, e.g., code listings). If you need to align text at fixed positions of the line, use tabs and tab stops.
2) A degree symbols between word represents a nonbreaking space (also called non-breaking space, no-break space, non-breakable space (NBSP), hard space, or fixed space) that prevents text wrapping at the end of the line. A Nonbreaking space in the Word document looks like:
A general rule of publishing is to use non-breaking spaces between words of organization and person names, postal addresses, etc.
Some popular rules:
- Insert a nonbreaking space between the copyright symbol and the following year(s) to ensure they will not end up on different lines or pages. For example:
- Insert a nonbreaking space before and after ellipses (also called a suspension point, points of ellipsis, periods of ellipsis, or even "dot-dot-dot" is a sequence of three dots used to indicate an omission in quoted material). For example:
3) A little dot with varying gaps before and after the dot represents Em Space and En Space. These spaces have different widths on printing:
- Em space is a space with the width of the lowercase m character.
- En space is a space with the width of the lowercase n character.
4) A vertical bar between words represents a ¼ Em space (also known as mid-space) is a space with the ¼ width of the lowercase m character:
If you want to see only space marks and no other non-printable symbols, do the following:
1. On the File tab, click the Options button:
2. In the Word Options dialog box, on the Display tab, under Always show these formatting marks on the screen, check or uncheck the Spaces option:
See also this tip in French: Types d’espaces spéciaux dans les documents Word.