Join Alicia Katz Pollock for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Reveal Formatting pane, part of Word 2010: Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts.
It's much easier to see what's going on behind the scenes in your document, when you show the hidden formatting characters and make use of the Reveal Formatting pane. Let's start with the Show/Hide paragraph button. That's right in the middle of the Home ribbon and when I click on it I get all these weird characters, but don't worry, they don't print. You can also use the keyboard commands Ctrl+ Asterisk (*), which is really Ctrl+Shift+8. Now you may find these distracting at first, but after a while you won't be able to see your document without them.
These little backwards Ps, tell you every time you hit Enter on your keyboard, which helps me realize that that space right there isn't because I've hit Enter, it's part of the formatting of two trees. Wherever you have a space you'll see a little dot that will help me know if I have two spaces in between words, I'll see two dots. This is a manual enter, so that I force the text to the next line, and tabs are marked with an arrow. This will help me know if I have tabs before my paragraphs or first line indents. Now sometimes you might want to see some of these characters, but not others.
For example, maybe I'm not really concerned about seeing the spaces between the words, but I do want those tabs. Let's go up to the File tab and then down to Options and on the left hand column choose Display. Here it says Always show these formatting marks on the screen, so you could turn on tab characters or spaces or hidden text. I'll go down and click OK and then when I turn the button off, I can still see my tab marks. Now I'm going to go ahead and turn everything back on again.
Next, let's explore the Reveal Formatting pane. Have you ever looked at some of your text and tried to figure out how it came to be formatted that way? The Reveal Formatting pane will help, let's scroll down to Page 4 and here I've some text that's formatted as a Heading 1 and other text formatted as a Heading 2. I'm going to highlight the text in the Heading 2 and I'm going to do the keyboard command Shift+F1 and when I do a Shift+F1, the Reveal Formatting pane opens on the right-hand side.
I can see the text that I've selected in the top box. Then there are three categories of information. Font is about my text formatting, Paragraph is about my paragraph spacing and when I scroll down I'll see Section and that's about my document layout. You can open and close any of these Sections using the plus and minus. Now let's scroll back up to the font and take a look. So this text right here is formatted as Calibri 11 point, All caps and it's got a 0.7 point Expanded character spacing.
I can see that it was formatted using Heading 2, it's Left Justified, it's got no indents and it's got 10 point spacing Before, no spacing After and the Line Spacing is Multiple 1.15. So I can see all kinds of things that make up this formatting. Now it not only does Reveal Formatting allow me to see them, but I can actually get in very quickly to change them. So for example, maybe I don't want this to be Expanded by 0.7, so I'll click on Character Spacing and it takes me straight to the dialog box where I can make any change that I want and when I'm done, I'll click OK.
Now let's take a look at the checkmarks at the bottom. The last one, Show all formatting marks is exactly the same as using the Show/Hide button. Now here it says, Distinguish style source. When I turn this on it adds a line at the top of each section, telling me that if what I'm seeing came from one of the styles in the style gallery, or if you don't see anything there, then it was something that you applied, I'll turn that off again. Now last, at the top of the pane there is a checkbox that says, Compare to another selection.
This is really helpful if you have two different instances of text and you know that they're different, but you can't figure out how. This will allow you to compare them. So the top boxes are Changes In Policy and the second box I'll highlight Section 1: Introduction. I don't see anything in this box, but that's only because this text is formatted in white, so it's white on a white background, so that's why you are not seeing anything. But when I looked down in the pane it says Formatting differences and it compares each of the same categories with a little arrow in the middle.
So the first selection is not bold and the second one, the Introduction is bold. The bottom one has Font color Auto, meaning black, and the top one has Font color Background 1, which in this case is white. The second one has Character Spacing Expanded by 1 point the top one is 0.75 points. So as you can see, using this Reveal Formatting pane not only shows you what's happening behind the scenes, but it also gives you an easy way to get to all the formatting dialog boxes from one easy place.
- Opening recent files
- Using keyboard shortcuts and F keys
- Utilizing the Navigation Pane
- Inserting boilerplate text
- Editing the dictionary
- Inserting symbols and special characters
- Using styles creatively
- Replicating font formatting
- Mastering columns
- Adding captions to tables, figures, and charts
- Working with graphics
- Linking Excel objects
- Setting up page numbers and cross-references
- Printing a booklet
- Printing document metadata