Assorted View menu options (WordPerfect)

July 4, 2009 at 11:09 am

Someone who recently visited this blog found it by using a search string that inquired how to turn off paragraph symbols in WordPerfect.

Unlike in Word, the paragraph symbol (pilcrow) has no special significance in WordPerfect. It is an end-of-paragraph marker, pure and simple — not a vessel containing formatting codes. Basically it just shows Hard Returns, indicating that you have pressed the Enter key.

Normally you don’t see the pilcrow in WordPerfect, but there is a command toward the bottom of the View menu — “Show ¶” — that allows you to display that symbol and a few other “non-printing characters” (as they are called in Word), such as a dot to indicate that you’ve pressed the space bar or an arrow to indicate that you’ve inserted a tab. If you prefer, you can display those markers by pressing Ctrl Shift F3. That keyboard shortcut works whether you are using the standard Windows (“CUA”) keyboard or the DOS-compatible keyboard.

If you have accidentally pressed the key combination to show the non-printing characters and you want to turn off the display, you can either press the same combination a second time or click the View menu and click to uncheck “Show ¶.”

Note that the paragraph symbols that appear when you display the non-printing characters are different from the ¶ character that you insert from the Symbols dialog as described in the June 20 post about inserting symbols in WordPerfect. They are visual aids only, not a substantive part of your document. As the “non-printing characters” moniker suggests, they will not show in the printed document.

Exploring the View Menu

Most people use the View menu in a very limited manner. They use it to do one or more of the following: (1) turn Reveal Codes on and off; (2) switch between Page view and Draft view; and/or (3) change the on-screen magnification (“Zoom”) of the document. But there are lots of other useful commands on the View menu. In this post, we’ll explore a few of the lesser-known options. (We’ll return to this topic later on and go into some detail about the difference between Guidelines and Table Gridlines, which causes a lot of confusion.) First, let’s review the three commands people know best.

Toggling Reveal Codes On and Off

Lots of folks simply use the key combination Alt F3 to turn Reveal Codes on and off. It’s quick and easy, and it works with both keyboards.

However, you also have the choice of applying the menu command to change the state of Reveal Codes. Assuming you are using the standard menu bar, Reveal Codes is the second command up from the bottom of the View menu.

Switching Between Page View and Draft View

The View menu allows you to switch between Page view and Draft view. Page view — the equivalent of Print Layout view in Word — is useful because it allows you to see the document as it will appear when printed. For that reason, Page view sometimes is also known as the “What You See Is What You Get” or WYSIWYG view (really!).

Draft view, by contrast, displays only the content of the main body of the document. It hides text that is in headers, footers, watermarks, and footnotes (that is, the number and note within the footnote editing screen itself) — occasionally referred to as “substructures.” Also, page breaks appear as a line across the screen rather than as a gap between pages.

Draft view is a good way of getting an overall sense of the layout and length of the document without being distracted by peripheral items.

CAUTION: Some options on the View menu, including the different page views, will be grayed out if your cursor is within a substructure such as a header or footer editing screen. If you are trying to change the page view but the menu options aren’t available, click somewhere within the body of the document and try again.

Changing Magnification (Zoom)

A common use of the View menu is to alter the magnification or “Zoom” of the document on screen to make it easier to read. Zoom options typically are expressed in terms of percentages, but WordPerfect also offers three other selections: Margin width, Page width, and Full page. Margin width enlarges the document and stretches it all the way across your screen, so that there are no “gutters” on either side. Page width does almost the same thing, but leaves gutters along the left and right edges. Full page shrinks the document so that you can see the entire page — not an ideal size for typing, but helpful for seeing how text falls on the page (and whether there are any paragraph headings, separated from the text they are meant to introduce, dangling awkwardly at the bottom).

The Zoom dialog gives you a choice among pre-set magnifications — 50%, 75%, 100%, etc. However, you can click the “Other” radio button and enter a customized percentage. I typically use a setting of 115% to 125%. The exact magnification depends on which computer I’m using, since those settings produce different results based (in part) on the size of the screen or monitor. You’ll have to experiment to determine which magnification you like best in various circumstances.

Two Pages

There’s also a “Two Pages” setting on the View menu. I use that option — which displays two pages side by side — when I have a lengthy document that I want to check for layout problems (dangling headings, text starting one line below the top margin when it’s supposed to be at the very top, etc.). You can scroll through the document by pressing the Pg Up and Pg Down keys, and you can bump text down or do other minor edits while in Two Pages mode.


I display the Ruler only when I am performing a very specific task, such as inserting a tab at a particular place in a document (or deleting a tab, which is easy to do by dragging the tab marker down off the Ruler and releasing it anywhere within the document screen). The rest of the time, I don’t want to see it. It’s an easy toggle with the View menu (or by pressing Alt V, R).

Hide Bars

This option is a little dangerous. If you apply it, all of the tools you normally use to orient yourself and make formatting choices — menus, toolbars, the Property Bar, the Application Bar, scrollbars — disappear. It’s a bit like losing your compass (and your GPS!) when you’re in the middle of the desert.

Should you accidentally hide the bars, not to worry! There’s a simple way to restore them: Press the Esc key.

Alternatively, if you press Alt V, the View menu will drop down from the clouds, allowing you to click to uncheck Hide Bars. And all will be well again.

Shadow Cursor

From the View menu, you can enable or disable the Shadow Cursor. (You can do the same by double-clicking the Shadow Cursor icon on the Application Bar at the bottom of the screen.)

I don’t use the Shadow Cursor myself (I find it somewhat distracting), but it definitely has its uses. When it’s on, you can insert text anywhere in the document, not merely at the left margin. Plus, you can “hover” the mouse pointer over any portion of the document and see exactly where the cursor/insertion point will appear if you click there.

More than that: The Shadow Cursor allows you to change the justification of text. If you position the mouse pointer over the horizontal center of the document when the Shadow Cursor is enabled, you’ll see not only the usual faint vertical line, indicating where the insertion point will go, but arrows on either side of the line — one pointing left and the other pointing right. That tells you that if you click there, any text you insert will be center-justified. Similarly, if you place the mouse pointer near the right margin of the document, you’ll see the dim vertical line with a left-pointing arrow to its left. That indicates that any text you insert there will be right-justified.

Thus, it’s a particularly easy way to add center-justified and right-justified text to your document.

Hidden Text

Finally, the View menu allows you to show or hide text that you have — or someone else has — marked as “Hidden” via the Font menu (Format, Font, Hidden).

Be very careful if you use the hidden text option. If your document contains text that you don’t want someone else to see (for example, opposing counsel), you should remove that text before transmitting the document electronically. Otherwise, anyone can reveal it simply by clicking the View menu and checking Hidden.

We’ll cover some of the remaining options on the View menu in a separate post at a later date.

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