Google Docs has a new feature: non-printable characters

Google has announced that Google Docs now has a new feature that allows you see non-printing characters, such as spaces, tabs and other types, In a blog post on Monday. This option will be available in View menu. It can make editing your document much easier. It will show you exactly how the document is formatted, rather than relying on what you can see. It can also be very useful in troubleshooting a failed formatting.

It was people before now Had to rely on third party add-onsGoogle Docs allows you to see characters that are not printed. It’s not something that many people will use, but there was certainly a demand. IssueTracker request from GoogleIt was voted on by more than 80 people who felt it affected by not being capable of seeing the characters. Some also left rave reviews: “My team agrees this is a huge issue with Google Docs,” one user wrote in 2019, while one asked, “How is this not available yet??” less than a week ago.

This gif shows how your document will look with view mode turned on and off.
Google Gif

My colleagues and I were both surprised to find out that the app didn’t yet have this feature. Apparently, none of us ever thought of needing it or thought of checking it out — and yes, that seems a little strange in retrospect, given we’re all writers, but I guess we just assumed it was there.

It was also surprising that Google Docs didn’t have it. I remember learning about non-printing characters in elementary school computer classes; Microsoft Word allows it to show it. Pretty much the entire time I was alive. (A coworker of mine shared that his parents had the advantage as a child, which led him to believe that electronic documents were how they worked.

The addition is still a good idea and I’m sure that there are many Google Docs users who are excited about the announcement. The blog post states that the feature will be available to all personal, business, and educational accounts. It should be fully implemented by February 7.

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