Google Docs has added increased visibility for non-printing characters to its collaboration tool, including spaces, tabs, and breaks, allowing users to distinguish between them more easily.
The feature, available now following an announcement (opens in new tab) in a post on the Google Workspace Updates blog, also includes markers for line, paragraph, section, page, and column breaks, and can be enabled in the View menu in Google Docs’ document view.
The feature is available for all Google Workspace and legacy G Suite customers, and those with personal Google accounts.
Google Docs catches up
As reported by The Verge (opens in new tab), although markers for non-printed character might seem like a basic and in-demand feature (opens in new tab), users have, until now, had to rely on third party add-ons like “Show” (opens in new tab) for similar functionality.
However, it’s worth noting I’m drafting this very article in Google Docs on my Google Workspace account and I don’t currently have access to a “show non-printing characters” menu option here, or even on my personal Google account, so it may take some time for the feature to appear to everybody.
This is generally standard practice for Google. In its announcement, the tech giant told users to expect a gradual rollout of 15 days from January 9, 2023 for organizations enrolled in its Rapid Release track for feature rollouts, and 15 days from January 23, 2023 for organizations on the Scheduled Release track.
While some users may not be too fussed about any delay, those who, like me for example, use Google’s free word processor to craft copy that includes links, and would like to keep those links free of errant spaces, could be disappointed.