Replace Line, Paragraph, Carriage Break in MS Word

When we see two lines of words in an MS Word document, we don’t get to see what is separating them. There are severl characters that act as line break. There are several names; line break, new line, carriage return, paragraph break etc.

Today, while doing a bit of data processing, I was required to remove all the line breaks (carriage return) in an MS-Word document and replace line breaks with a comma. I was processing a long list of email addresses with one email address per line. And I wanted this list to become a comma separated list (CSV); so as to use it somewhere else.

In MS-Word, paragraph break is represented by invisible character (¶) which looks like a horizontally flipped P letter. You can toggle the visibility of this character by clicking a button given on the Home tab in MS Word. The button bears the same ¶ symbol. You should click this button to be able to see what exactly is separating the lines.

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If lines are breaking because of paragraph break then ¶ will appear at the end of the lines. If lines are breaking due to line break (carriage return), a left-angled arrow symbol will appear at the end. Let’s first see how to deal with paragraph break:

How to Remove / Replace Paragraph Break
  • Open the Word document that you want to work on
  • Press CTRL + H to bring up the Find and Replace box
  • In the “Find what” box type ^p [this upward arrow character is called caret and is usually available on a number key]
  • In “Replace with” box type a comma
  • Click on Replace All button.

Thus all the paragraph breaks in you document will get replaced by a comma. You can use whatever character(s) you like in “Replace with” box. For example, if you want to replace every paragraph break with two paragraph breaks –then you should type ^p^p in “Replace with” box.

If you simply want to remove paragraph breaks; just leave the “Replace with” box blank. And you’ll get a monolithic chunk of text!

READ ALSO: How to find ant replace formatting

How to Remove / Replace Line Break, Carriage Return (Enter key)
Follow the same process as given above. Instead of finding paragraph sign (^p), now you should look for line break or carriage return sign (represented by ^l). Therefore, type ^l in “Find what” box and replace it something else (or with nothing).

NOTE: This article is part of my MS Word Guide. This guide solves your day to day MS Word problems. Easily!

So, this is how you can replace line breaks, paragraph breaks and carriage returns in MS Word document. Please le t me know if you have any questions about this topic. I will be glad to try and assist you. Thank you for using TechWelkin.

45 thoughts on “Replace Line, Paragraph, Carriage Break in MS Word”

  1. I have 120 page document with a line space at the end of each line. ^p does not work for me in Word 2013. any suggestions

  2. Hi this does not work for me. I have a table at the bottom of my document and under it word has inserted a line break. Problem it the line break goes over the page so I have a unnecessary blank page at the end of the document. I won’t let me delete it with delete or backspace. I tried the find P, replace with and put nothing in the box, but that doesn’t work. Thanks in advance for any help :-)

  3. Amarapali Thorath

    Paragraph mark ( Paragraph mark )

    ^p (doesn’t work in the Find what box when the Use wildcards option is turned on), or ^13

  4. To remove blank lines or enter function and keep the list of words together in word, just copy the list and paste in excel sheet. Go to find & select and select “Blanks”. Now delete all blank cells and copy them into word. All lines will be next to each other.

  5. Please, I’ve got a paragraph break issue (where in the middle of my sentence, the word breaks and creates a paragraph). An unnecessary one. I tried removing the paragraph by using a wildcard that replaces all paragraph starting with a small case letter if found. It did not work. And i cannot do it manually. The file is over 200 pages. Help please

    1. You probably have a “non-breaking space” in each of those places. If you reveal formatting (from toolbar: Format – Reveal Formatting – click box for “Show all formatting marks”), the non-breaking space will show up as an empty circle. (Regular spaces will show up as a dot.)

      The reason people insert a non-breaking space into a document is to keep two or more words together on the same line.

      To replace the non-breaking spaces with regular spaces, use the “Replace” function (from toolbar: Edit – Replace). In the “Find what” box, type this:

      ^s

      (^ is usually found on the same key with the number 6)

      In the “Replace with” box, type a space.

      Click the “find next” button to see if it finds the empty circle symbol for a non-breaking space, then click “replace.” If that does what you want, you can use the “replace all” button to change them all instantly. Good luck.

  6. Thank you sooo much! I used to remove the line breaks in DNA sequences by hand, always wondering if there is a representation like ^p for paragraph breaks, however I could not find it (not knowing what the thing was called in the first place).
    I’m happy now.

  7. Maybe my question is more simplistic. In a document, I have a short list .. each on a separate line.
    Created by typing the text and pressing CR … so there is a ^p at the end of each line.
    However as well as going to the start of next line .. it puts in a blank line.

    This may be desirable for a paragraph, but on a short list where I do not want this extra blank line hoew do I remove (or prevent this)

  8. Replace paragraph, line, tab with ^p ^l or ^t
    but for unseccable space (not sure that’s the proper english: indivisible, inséparable); I mean the little ° indicating that a line cannot break between this two letters (usually quotation mark as in word°”.
    I want to get rid of all of those ° in a very long text
    Thanks for your help

    1. Hi Serge, sorry I could not fully understand your question. But you should try ^w or ^s and see if the problem resolves.

    2. Serge, to get rid of the ° marks, you can replace all of those with a space. (paste the ° in the “Find what” field, and press the space bar once in the “Replace with” field.

  9. Useful article! I was slightly amused by the text “this upward arrow character is called carrot…” I think you mean ‘caret’, as opposed to the pointy orange root vegetable!

  10. There seems to be no way in Word to find a word at the end of a line (which, as I recall, you could do in WordPerfect–but that’s spilled milk!). That is, not a paragraph or soft return (^p or ^l), but a line wrap forced by the margin. Is that so? I’ve looked for quite some time and not found a solution. Thanks!

        1. Excellent Tammy! Yes, ^l is used for finding line breaks. ^p is for paragraph breaks. For white-spaces, you can use ^w special code.

  11. Michael Barton -Plumb

    Wow you have no idea how long i have been searching for this. It is so easy now that someone has showed me how. Your incredible thank you so much.

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