Word: Remove excess paragraph marksMay 27, 2010
Many Word users don’t use styles to format their documents. Instead, they apply manual formatting to text, and press Enter twice each time they want a bit of white space between paragraphs. However, if the document goes through several review cycles, there’s a good chance that one of the reviews will involve applying a template — and thus its styles — to the original document. And this can result is excessive white space between paragraphs where an extra Enter was used to add space.
For example, in the screen shot below, the author has pressed Enter once at the end of each paragraph.
However, the eye is used to differentiating one paragraph from another with white space, so the author presses Enter again to get that extra bit of space, as in the screen shot below:
When one of the reviewers applies a template with styles that include paragraph ‘leading’ (the above/below space for a paragraph), the result is too much white space, as shown in this next screen shot:
Now, if you only have a few paragraphs to tidy up, you could remove the excess paragraph marks manually. But as soon as you have a page or more of these empty paragraphs, you’ll want a quicker way to get rid of them.
Here’s how… (this works in both Word 2003 and Word 2007)
- Press Ctrl+H to open Word’s Find and Replace dialog box.
- In the Find what field, type ^p^p (that’s two lots of Shift+6 to get the ^ character followed immediately by a lower case p — the p MUST be lower case). DO NOT insert any spaces. What you’re doing here is getting Word to look for any paragraph mark (^p) followed immediately by another paragraph mark (the other ^p).
- In the Replace with field, type ^p (once, no spaces) to replace two consecutive paragraph marks with just one.
- Click Replace All.
- To replace two consecutive tabs with a single tab: Find ^t^t and replace with ^t.
- To replace two consecutive soft line breaks with one: Find ^l^l and replace with ^l (that’s a lower case L for library).
- Replace excess spaces: http://cybertext.wordpress.com/2009/01/11/word-replace-excess-spaces/
- Remove excess characters: http://cybertext.wordpress.com/2008/06/28/word-remove-excess-characters/
- Carriage returns versus paragraph returns — the saga of ^p versus ^13: http://cybertext.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/word-carriage-returns-not-paragraph-returns/
[Links last checked May 2010]