Nine Ways to Stop Annoying Automation in Word Documents

One of the most common complaints about Microsoft Word is its insistence on behaving like it is smarter than we are. Even more experienced Word users often just live with Word’s automatic pranks including making mysterious changes, inserting text you didn’t ask for, and taking control of your formatting, because we don’t know how to disable them. It’s not always the features themselves that are annoying it’s just not knowing how to control them.

Here are some common automated actions that Word tries to pull on unsuspecting users, along with a fix for each one.

Accessing the Automatic Options:

  1. To get to the AutoCorrect dialog box, click the File tab and then pick Options from the bottom of the screen.
  2. Pick Proofing from list of choices at the left. On the right, click the AutoCorrect Options button, and Word will open the AutoCorrect dialog box containing the AutoCorrect and AutoFormat As You Type tabs.

#1: Word changes capitalization of text as you type it.

Does it seem like Word randomly changes the capitalization or spelling of text in a document? AutoCorrect is to blame. MS Word Free Download Full Version As the name indicates, AutoCorrect automatically corrects the spelling of common misspelled words but also makes other changes including capitalizing the first letter in a sentence, table cell, or line of text. To review your choices, follow the steps above for your version of Microsoft Word to open the AutoCorrect dialog box, choose the AutoCorrect tab and uncheck any option that gets in the way of typing your text. Some of the actions that you might want to turn off include:

  • Correct TWo INitial CApitals
  • Capitalize first letter of sentences
  • Capitalize first letter of table cells
  • Capitalize names of days
  • Correct accidental usage of cAPS LOCK key

#2: Word unexpectedly inserts symbols such as a copyright character.

The AutoCorrect feature in Word is designed to automatically replace more than 500 spelling errors or typing shortcuts with a corrected version. To locate the annoying automation, pick the AutoCorrect tab, select the unwanted entry in the Replace column at the left, and choose Delete. For instance, if you use an outline format with (a), (b), etc., then you might want to remove the entry for (c) which automatically changes to a copyright symbol. It usually makes sense to keep the Replace text as you type option selected so it can automatically correct common misspellings.

NOTE: For the next seven annoyances, open the AutoCorrect dialog box, and choose the AutoFormat As You Type tab.

#3: Word automatically adds numbers or bullets at the beginning of lines as you type them.

Have you ever tried to create your own numbered list or outline and watched the numbering or formatting change once you press [Enter] for the next line? This is a huge annoyance for anyone that wants to build a custom layout for an outline rather than working with the choices in Word. To prevent this, deselect the options for Automatic bulleted lists and Automatic numbered lists; both are found in the Apply as you type group.

#4: Word creates a hyperlink when you type a Web page address or email address.

Do you type your email address or website into a document and then watch as it suddenly changes to blue underlined text (a hyperlink)? If automatic hyperlinks are more annoying than helpful, uncheck the option Internet and network paths with hyperlinks found under the Replace as you type grouping.

#5: Word converts fractions into formatted symbols.

Do you ever enter fractions such as 1/4 only to see them changed to a character? This automatic choice is easy to ignore if you don’t type fractions frequently but can be a nuisance if you frequently use fractions as only the most common ones have an associated symbol. To turn off this action so your fractions maintain a consistent look, deselect the option Fractions (1/2) with fraction character located under the Replace as you type grouping.