How to Make Formatting in Google Docs Way Easier

Google is adding a new formatting feature that should making editing documents easier.

a web browser showing a google doc template

If you're a frequent user of Google Docs, we've got some welcome news for you: Google announced this week that it will be adding a new formatting feature that should making editing documents easier. When turned on, the feature allows you to see invisible characters — or "non-printing characters" — such as spaces, paragraphs, tabs and line breaks, page breaks and column breaks.

As first spotted by The Verge, this is a formatting feature that you might be surprised to learn wasn't previously available on Google Docs. Microsoft Word, for example, has had it for many years. You could previously see these invisible characters on Google Docs, but you needed to use a third-party extension.

You'll be able to view these non-printing characters by turning on the feature via the View menu within Google Docs.

How to Turn On Non-Printing Characters in Google Docs

  1. Open the Google Doc.
  2. Select the View menu (between Edit and Insert).
  3. Select "Show non-printing characters."

    The catch is that you might not be able to see this "Show non-printing characters" just yet. According to the company's blog post, Google is slowly rolling out the feature over the next few weeks. It should be rolled out to all accounts by the first week of February.

    The other good news is that this feature will be available to anybody — all personal and work Google accounts, as well as legacy G Suite Basic and Business accounts.


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