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When composing an email message, you might see some symbols within your text. These are actually formatting marks, such as dots (for spaces) or arrows (for tab characters) in Outlook. Formatting marks assist with text layout. They do not appear on a printed message.

These are the formatting characters available in email messages.

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

Quickly toggle all formatting marks

To turn formatting marks on or off, do the following:

  • In the message window, on the Format Text tab, in the Paragraph group, click the button that looks like a paragraph mark. (When you point your mouse at the button, the tooltip says Show/Hide ¶).

    The button for the 'Show/Hide Formatting Marks' command looks like a paragraph mark.

    Keyboard shortcut     CTRL+SHIFT+*. (You must use the asterisk on the 8 key.)

Turn specific formatting marks on or off

You can customize which formatting marks are shown in Outlook by opening a new email message. 

  1. From a new email message, select File > Options > Mail > Editor Options > Display.

  2. Check or uncheck the formatting marks you want to see on the screen.
    You can turn formatting marks on and off in Settings.

    Note: The options you select here will persist for all new email messages you create in Outlook, any replies or forwards you compose, and any text you type in the body of appointments, meetings, events, contact cards, and tasks. 

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