All about invisible (hidden) text and characters

13 December 2021 By Elena 0 5,976
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For some reason, you may need to hide certain parts of text, wherever you type it: in a document, on a web page or in chat. Unfortunately, we don’t have magic ink, but we can make text invisible, hiding it or using some features to make characters or symbols invisible. Keep on reading to discover more.

All about invisible (hidden) text and characters

Hidden text or invisible characters?

They use invisible text or invisible character to represent an empty space without using space key. Whitespace character does not appear on the screen. It is usually a blank Unicode character or text type such as U+0020, U+00A0, U+FEFF, etc. Unicode stands for the universal coded character set and contains thousands of characters.

Furthermore, there are hidden non-printing characters that help you edit a document. They indicate the presence of various types of formatting elements, but they cannot be printed with the document even if they are displayed on the screen. The most common non-printing characters in text editors are pilcrow, space, non-breaking space, tab character, etc.

All about invisible (hidden) text and characters

You may also meet a way of inserting hidden words into the body of a document, called white fonting. As the name suggests, keywords don’t even show their presence, written white-on-white. So it makes a text unreadable but still available on a page.

All about invisible (hidden) text and characters

If you have confidential information in a document or text that you don’t want others to see, you can hide the text with help of formatting marks. The text remains a part of the document, but it doesn’t appear unless you choose to display it. Anyone who can edit the document can search for it and reveal your secret. The hidden text feature in Microsoft Word hides text in a document.

So, let’s discover when to use hidden, invisible, or unreadable characters.

Invisible text and invisible characters

You may find different names, like invisible characters or empty characters, or even blank characters. All of them look like a space, but in fact, they are a different Unicode characters.

There are a lot of invisible Unicode characters: special characters, language-specific fillers, and regular white-space characters. All the symbols have a specific meaning and can be used in various applications instead of regular empty spaces.

Invisible text or invisible characters can be used in many ways:

  • In document editors. It may happen that you don’t need a certain phrase to be on separate lines. If it’s important that two words never be apart, you should insert a no-break space. For example, it can be used for prices and currencies. Some languages have whitespace before a punctuation mark, which also acts as a non-breaking space.
  • On websites. Some websites do not support an empty value in filling forms or nicknames, in such cases, you can simply copy and paste blank space or invisible symbols to fulfill the requirements.
  • In messengers. Invisible characters enable you to send empty messages to your contacts in WhatsApp or Telegram to surprise your contacts or just for fun. As these messengers do not allow to send blank messages or put empty status using spaces.
  • In video games. You can change your username through the invisible character in Fortnite and PUBG, for example, or in chat for gamers, like Discord. In this way, nobody will ever know who is behind a game player.

Here below, you can find a list of whitespace Unicode characters. To use them you need to select and copy a blank space from between the brackets in the example column.

Unicode HTML Description Example
U+0020  &#32 Space [ ]
U+00A0 &#160 No-Break Space [ ]
U+2000 &#8192 En Quad []
U+2001 &#8193 Em Quad []
U+2002 &#8194 En Space []
U+2003 &#8195  Em Space []
U+2004 &#8196 Three-Per-Em Space []
U+2005 &#8197 Four-Per-Em Space []
U+2006  &#8198  Six-Per-Em Space []
U+2007  &#8199 Figure Space []
U+2008  &#8200 Punctuation Space []
U+2009 &#8201  Thin Space []
U+200A &#8202 Hair Space []
U+2028  &#8232  Line Separator []
U+205F &#8287  Medium Mathematical Space []
U+3000 &#12288  Ideographic Space []

There are also available online tools to display or create invisible text.

Hidden non-printing characters

Non-printing characters or formatting marks are symbols that help you format a document in text editors. Even if you choose to display them on the monitor, they cannot be printed.

In documents editors like ONLYOFFICE Docs, to show or hide non-printing characters, click the corresponding icon at the Home tab on the top toolbar.

All about invisible (hidden) text and characters

Non-printing characters include:

  • spaces,
  • tabs,
  • paragraph marks,
  • line breaks,
  • non-breaking spaces,
  • page breaks,
  • section breaks,
  • column breaks,
  • end-of-cell and end-of row markers in tables,
  • small black square in the margin to the left of a paragraph,
  • anchor symbols.

You may insert them from the Insert tab -> Symbol -> Special characters.

All about invisible (hidden) text and characters

Hidden text or white fonting

Hidden text is the way to insert hidden invisible characters into a web page or an electronic document. Mostly they use a font color the same as a color of a background to be able to hide additional content from sight.

Hidden unreadable text can be used for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques on web pages. They try to create a higher ranking in search engine, like Google, Bing, or Yahoo, adding the same keyword multiple times. It can be used also to add hidden phrases unrelated to content to gain additional traffic.

In some cases, inexperienced users format text documents or slides with invisible characters. Use the same practice to display hidden characters to be able to adjust the imperfect layout.

How to reveal unreadable text

To find hidden white fonting you can copy content from a web page and put it in your Word document. Then use a different background color to find out unreadable characters.

All about invisible (hidden) text and characters

Other use cases

Have you ever wanted to add just a couple of phrases to a text document you have already printed? White fonting may help to hide some content, so you can reprint a missing part over.

You may also meet a feature available in MS Word that lets you hide a text or an image in a text document. It has its uses: if you want to print a document without some text or images showing up, or you want to leave some notes in a document just for yourself. This feature can be used in the Word client on your computer only.

 

In this article, we found some cases of how to work with text documents with help of ONLYOFFICE editors. Watch this video to discover other useful features of the office suite:

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