Self-editing for Self-publishers: The Show/Hide Button in Word

Updated: Mar 19, 2020

Editing is a crucial part of your journey to publication. Nothing can replace the advantages you will gain from employing objective, professional eyes to line edit/copy-edit your work but you can dramatically reduce the costs and the time that this will take. There are various simple techniques and tools you can use that will ensure that your manuscript is as error-free as possible when it eventually comes under the scrutiny of your editor. In my Self-editing for Self-publishers blog series I will show you some of these cost- and time-saving methods.

The Show/Hide Button in Word

This provides a very simple way for you to see the invisible parts of your manuscript such as unnecessary spaces and paragraph breaks. It looks like this:

The Show/Hide button can be found in the Paragraph section of the Home ribbon in Word. When you activate it, Word will 'show paragraph marks and other hidden formatting symbols'. This will allow you to keep track of formatting errors such as:

  • accidental double spaces,

  • spaces at the end or start of paragraphs/headings,

  • unnecessary returns at the end of chapters,

  • tabs/spaces that have been used instead of indents,

  • the type of section breaks you have used,

  • accidental page breaks.

All of these are errors that your editor/proofreader will have to check for because, if left uncorrected, they can cause issues with how professional your book looks when it is published.

By taking control of this part of the editing process, you will allow your editor to focus more on the text and save them from correcting all of the simple but time-consuming formatting errors that are so easily revealed by the Show/Hide button. Time is money. If you can take responsibility for the basics of formatting, your bank balance will thank you for it.

Other Articles in the Self-editing for Self-publishers series:

Basic Rules for Punctuating Dialogue

Ellipses/Suspension Points

Paragraph Styles for Non-fiction and Fiction

Double to Single Spacing

#selfediting #selfpublishing #word #showhidebutton #formatting