A long time back I recall in WordPerfect one could take a document and view it as text + markup. This made fixing odd behaviors in a document much easier because you could see what was causing an odd format behavior.

Is there a way to get such a view in Microsoft Word? I find myself from time to time fighting with paragraphing formatting oddities and line spacing oddities and styles that appear one way at one point in the document, but a different way later in the document.

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  • When you say "markup", do you mean that you want to see the revisions made to the document (i.e., track changes)? Or do you want to see otherwise invisible elements such as line spaces, non-breaking hyphens, and hard-returns?
    – PFitz
    Mar 2, 2015 at 2:19
  • If it's the latter, press Ctrl + Shift + 8.
    – PFitz
    Mar 2, 2015 at 2:21
  • I mean the latter, but with far more than just line spaces and hard returns. Things like font changes, style changes, etc... Mar 2, 2015 at 4:04
  • 3
    Not a complete solution but this may help (in Office 210 or 2013): Go to the "Editing" options on the far right side of the Home tab. Click the drop-down menu labeled "Select" and choose the option for "Select all text with similar formatting." this will highlight any text matching the formatting of the currently selected (or cursor-adjacent) text.
    – PFitz
    Mar 2, 2015 at 4:15
  • 1
    i'm sure word never had that level of markup. but you can choose to show all formatting marks and it shows new lines and tabs and maybe some other things but not styles/fonts
    – barlop
    Mar 3, 2015 at 1:59

2 Answers 2


You can reveal formatting for any selected text in Word. It won't display on the document itself like your WordPerfect example, but instead will show you the details of your currently selected text in a separate pane (dialog). (That's because internally, WordPerfect and Word take different approaches to how they connect formatting and text. John McGhie wrote up a little more about the differences between the two.)

The Style Inspector will show you some information -- it will show you about styles that are applied to your selected text. But it doesn't show all formatting details. That's why you need to use Reveal Formatting: that shows you all of the formatting details for your selected text.

Below, I've included screen shots to show the steps to open up the reveal formatting task pane. (I was using Word 2010 in those.) Here are the specific steps in Word 2007 and above:

  1. On the Home tab, in the Styles group, click the Styles task pane Launcher (that's the little square in the lower-right-hand corner with the downward pointing arrow in it).
  2. At the bottom of the Styles task pane (a.k.a. Styles dialog box), click the Style Inspector button to bring it up: At the bottom of the Styles task pane, look for the button with the magnifying glass icon (usually it's the middle of three buttons). That will bring up the Style Inspector.
  3. The Style Inspector will show you some information about any styles applied to your selected text, but it doesn't show all details. You need to click on the Reveal Formatting button at the bottom of the Style Inspector: the Reveal Formatting button also has a magnifying glass, but it leans to the left instead of the right like the Style Inspector.

Or just use the keyboard shortcut: Shift+F1

Reveal Formatting is also available in Word 2002 and 2003 with the same keyboard shortcut (Shift+F1), or find it with View > Task Pane, click on the down-arrow and choose Reveal Formatting from the choices.

Screen shots:

Open up the Styles pane:

Open up the Styles pane (Word 2010)

Use the Style Inspector to then open Reveal Formatting:

Open up the Style Inspector (Word 2010)

Here's the Reveal Formatting Pane. Note that You can also show the formatting for the section by clicking on the "+" next "Section." I didn't have that info expanded in this screenshot. There are also more options at the bottom of the Reveal Formatting pane.

Open Reveal Formatting (Word 2010)


This is a limited solution but it may work for your needs...

If you save the document as a Word XML Document. You can open this file in any plain text editor or in Word or in an XML file editor.

There are a few other formats that will work like this, such as .wri. Just try them all until you find one you like.

The main annoyance of doing this is that Word doesn't play nicely with others and will complain if you have the document open elsewhere. So you'll need to close out of one before you open it in the other.

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