Formatting Aids

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In LibreOffice text and HTML documents, defines the display for certain characters and for the direct cursor.

Open a text document, choose Tools - Options' - LibreOffice Writer/LibreOffice Writer/Web' - Formatting Aids

Display of

Defines which non-printing characters are visible on screen. Activate the Non-printing Characters icon on the Standard bar. All characters that you have selected on the Formatting Aids tab page will be displayed.

Paragraph end

Specifies whether paragraph delimiters are displayed. The paragraph delimiters also contain paragraph format information.

Soft hyphens

Specifies whether soft hyphens (called also as optional or discretionary hyphens) are displayed. These are hidden user-defined delimiters that you enter within a word by pressing Ctrl+Hyphen(-). Words with soft hyphens are only separated at the end of a line at the point where a soft hyphen has been inserted, irrespective of whether the automatic hyphenation is activated or deactivated.


Specifies whether to represent every space in the text with a dot.

Non-breaking spaces

Specifies that non-breaking spaces are shown as gray boxes. Non-breaking spaces are not broken at the end of a line and are entered with the Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar shortcut keys.


Specifies that tab stops are displayed as small arrows.


Displays all line breaks inserted with the Shift+Enter shortcut. These breaks create a new line, but do not start a new paragraph.

Hidden text

Displays text that uses the character format "hidden", when View - Non-printing Characters is enabled.

Fields: Hidden text (not for HTML documents)

Displays text that is hidden by Conditional Text or Hidden Text fields.

Fields: Hidden paragraphs (not for HTML documents)

If you have inserted text using the Hidden Paragraph field, specifies whether to display the hidden paragraph. This option has the same function as the menu commands When in Writer: View - Hidden ParagraphsView - Hidden Paragraphs available in open text documents.

Direct cursor (not for HTML documents)

Defines all the properties of the direct cursor.

Direct cursor

Activates the direct cursor. You can also activate this function by clicking the Toggle Direct Cursor Mode icon on the Tools bar or by choosing the Edit - Direct Cursor Mode command in a text document.

Insert (not for HTML document)

Defines the insert options for the direct cursor. If you click at any position in your document, a new paragraph can be written or inserted exactly at this position. The properties of this paragraph depend on the selected option. You can select from the following options:

Paragraph alignment

Sets the paragraph alignment when the direct cursor is used. Depending on where the mouse is clicked, the paragraph is formatted left aligned, centered or right aligned. The cursor before the mouse-click shows, by means of a triangle, which alignment is set.

Left paragraph margin

When the direct cursor is used, the left paragraph indent is set at the horizontal position where you click the direct cursor. The paragraph is left aligned.


When the direct cursor is used, as many tabs as necessary are added in the new paragraph until the clicked position is reached.

Tabs and Spaces

When the Direct Cursor is used, a corresponding number of tabs and spaces are inserted in the new paragraph as necessary until the clicked position is reached.

Note.png All insert options refer only to the current paragraph generated with the Direct Cursor.

Protected Areas - Enable cursor

Specifies that you can set the cursor in a protected area, but cannot make any changes.