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InQuestion: Removing Unwanted Text Anchors

InDesign Magazine Issue 111: Treasures From the Vaults
This article appeared in Issue 111 of InDesign Magazine.

Jamie McKee identifies a strange hidden character, tells where it came from, and how to get rid of it easily.

Q: I’m setting chapters for a book that contains endnotes. My Word documents are properly styled, but when I place them into my InDesign template, they’re filled with hidden characters—always at the start of the text and usually before each endnote callout. I want my InDesign files error-free and these characters make me nervous. Any idea what they are and how to get rid of them?

A: Kudos to you for wanting your files clean and error-free—I wish more people worked that way! I’ve set quite a few Word documents as you describe and have run across this very issue.

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Jamie McKee

Jamie McKee

Jamie McKee is a book designer and typesetter for university presses throughout the US and England, specializing in moving text from Microsoft Word to InDesign. More information about him can be found at .
Jamie McKee

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3 Comments on “InQuestion: Removing Unwanted Text Anchors

  1. Hi, my friend, to fix this problem use notepad of Windows.
    How to do:
    First of all, copy your text to notepad (bloco de notas em português do Brasil).
    Now select the text from notepad and copy it.
    Now you can paste into Word or InDesign without this signals.
    The notepad eliminate all off these crazy hiden signals :)

    Ps.: if I wrote wrong, very hard mistake with the English language, tell me and I’ll try explain better :)

  2. I ran in to something similar a few years back. Unwanted hidden characters in imported word files. They looked like blue colons when i viewed the hidden characters.

    I read in a forum that you can search and replace these empty anchors by looking for in the search dialog box. Don’t know what that refers to – but that solution worked for me back then, and I’ve used it a couple of times since then.

    • I noticed that my comment removed the string i searched for:

      FEFF contained in chevron brackets.

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