Troubleshoot document views and screen displays

Some of the content in this topic may not be applicable to some languages.

ShowDots appear between words on the screen.

The dots between words represent spaces and will not be printed. To turn off the display of dots and other formatting marks, click Show/Hide Paragraph mark Button image.

If dots still appear, click Options on the Tools menu, and then click the View tab. Under Formatting marks, clear the Spaces check box.

ShowI see underlines in my document.

If text on your screen is underlined, but you didn't apply underline formatting to it, it could appear as underlined for any of the following reasons.

Red or green wavy underlines

When you automatically check spelling and grammar, Microsoft Word uses wavy red underlines to indicate possible spelling errors and wavy green underlines to indicate possible grammatical errors.

Red wavy underlines in an e-mail header

Word automatically checks the names in the e-mail header against names in the Address Book. If multiple names are found that match the name you type, a red wavy line appears under the name, indicating that you must choose a name.

Blue wavy underlines

Word uses wavy blue underlines to indicate possible instances of inconsistent formatting.

Purple wavy underlines (vertical wavy lines may also appear in the margin)

In an XML document, Word uses purple wavy underlines and vertical lines to indicate XML structure that does not adhere to the XML schema that is attached to the document.

 Note   XML features, except for saving documents as XML with the Word XML schema, are available only in Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003 and stand-alone Microsoft Office Word 2003.

Blue or other color underlines

Hyperlink (hyperlink: Colored and underlined text or a graphic that you click to go to a file, a location in a file, a Web page on the World Wide Web, or a Web page on an intranet. Hyperlinks can also go to newsgroups and to Gopher, Telnet, and FTP sites.) display text is blue and underlined by default.

Purple or other color underlines

Followed hyperlinks appear as purple and underlined by default.

Red or other color single or double underlines (vertical bars may also appear in the left or right margin)

By default, newly inserted text is marked as underlined when the Track Changes feature is used. Vertical bars — called changed lines — may also appear in the left or right border of text that contains tracked changes (tracked change: A mark that shows where a deletion, insertion, or other editing change has been made in a document.).

Purple dotted underlines

Smart tags (action tags: Data recognized and labeled as a particular type. For example, a person's name or the name of a recent Microsoft Outlook e-mail message recipient is a type of data that can be recognized and labeled with an action tag.) appear with purple dotted underlines beneath text. You can use smart tags to perform actions (actions: Tasks that can be performed by using smart tags. For example, adding a name to a Microsoft Outlook Contacts folder is one action that might be taken with a person name smart tag.) in Word that you'd normally open other programs to do.

ShowI want to use a menu or a toolbar in Full Screen view.

If you want to choose menu commands in full-screen mode, rest the pointer at the top of the screen. The menu bar appears.

ShowI can't turn off Full Screen view.

To turn off full-screen mode and switch to the previous view, click Close Full Screen on the Full Screen toolbar (toolbar: A bar with buttons and options that you use to carry out commands. To display a toolbar, press ALT and then SHIFT+F10.), or press ESC.

ShowI see items in the status bar at the bottom of the screen.

The status bar, which is a horizontal area at the bottom of the document window in Microsoft Word, provides information about the current state of what you are viewing in the window and any other contextual information.

To display the status bar, click Options on the Tools menu, click the View tab, and then select the Status bar check box under Show.

Page number

Shows the page number.

Sec number

Shows the section (section: A portion of a document in which you set certain page formatting options. You create a new section when you want to change such properties as line numbering, number of columns, or headers and footers.) number of the page shown in the window.


Shows the page number and the total number of pages based on the physical page count in the document.

At measurement

Shows the distance from the top of the page to your insertion point. No measurement is displayed if the insertion point is not in the window.

Ln number

Shows the line of text where the insertion point is located. No measurement is displayed if the insertion point is not in the window.

Col number

Shows the distance, in number of characters, from the left margin to the insertion point. No measurement is displayed if the insertion point is not in the window.


Shows the macro recorder status. Double-click REC to turn the macro recorder on or off. When the recorder is off, REC appears dimmed.


Shows the track changes status. Double-click TRK to turn the Track Changes feature on or off. When changes are not being tracked, TRK appears dimmed.


Shows the extend selection mode status. Double-click EXT to turn the mode on or off. When extend selection mode is off, EXT appears dimmed.


Shows the overtype (overtype: The replacement of existing characters with newly typed characters. When overtype mode is turned on, OVR appears in the status bar.) mode status. Double-click OVR to turn the mode on or off. When overtype mode is off, OVR appears dimmed.


Shows the language at the insertion point. Double-click to change the language format of selected text.

Spelling and grammar checking status icon

Shows the spelling and grammar checking status. When Word is in the process of checking for errors, an animated pen appears over the book. If no errors are found, a check mark appears. If an error is found, an "X" appears. To resolve the error, double-click this icon.

When the spelling and grammar checker options are turned off, the grammar checker continues to run to recognize smart tags (action tags: Data recognized and labeled as a particular type. For example, a person's name or the name of a recent Microsoft Outlook e-mail message recipient is a type of data that can be recognized and labeled with an action tag.).

If you want the spelling and grammar checker to be turned off, you also need to turn off smart tags.

  1. On the Tools menu, click AutoCorrect Options, and then click the Smart Tags tab.
  2. Clear the Label text with smart tags check box.

Background save status icon

Shows the background save status. When a pulsating disk icon appears, Word is saving your document in the background as you work.

Background print status icon

Shows the background print status. When a printer icon appears, Word is printing your document in the background as you work. A number next to the printer icon shows the current page number being printed. To cancel the print job, double-click the printer icon.

ShowSome of the items on the status bar are missing or empty.

The document view and the location of the insertion point in the document can affect what you see in the status bar. Try switching to another document view and moving the insertion point.

ShowMy document is too wide to fit on the screen.


ShowI can't find online layout view.

Online layout view has been replaced by Web layout view (Web Layout view: A view of a document as it will appear in a Web browser. For example, the document appears as one long page (without page breaks) and text and tables wrap to fit in the window.). In Web layout view, Microsoft Word optimizes your Web page so that you can see how it will look when you publish it to the Web or an intranet. In Web layout view, you can see backgrounds, AutoShapes, and other effects that are commonly used in Web documents or documents that you view on the screen.

ShowPage borders do not appear.

ShowI cannot see the split box.

Split box

The split box is located at the top of the vertical scroll bar. If the split box is not available, the Document Map might be open or the vertical scroll bar might be turned off. To use the split box, close the Document Map (View menu) or turn on the vertical scroll bar (Tools menu, Options, View tab).

ShowI can't turn on or off master document view.

To view the entire master document, click Normal or Print Layout on the View menu.

  • The document might be protected    When a document is protected, the Outline command (View menu) might not be available, so you cannot use the Outlining toolbar to work with master documents and subdocuments.
Applies to:
Word 2003