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Word Annoyances and Tips

A Word Tutorial

Posted by Dave
5 Star Support Security Specialist

I use Microsoft Word a lot, and I mean a lot. There are, however, a number of annoyances in the program that drive me nuts. You too, I'm sure. My main gripe is that the program insists on taking control, and usually at the wrong time when I want it to do something else. When I type something, I want it that way for a reason. When Word changes it, I find it quite annoying. If you have the same feelings, read on and I will explain how you can turn off these annoying "features".

  1. Word generates symbols unexpectedly, such as a trademark or copyright character and may even insert an entire passage of text. Some of these features are actually useful at times, so you might want to keep some of the settings turned on. To edit the settings, go to Tools | AutoCorrect Options and select the tab labeled AutoCorrect. Find the Replace Text As You Type box. You can either select or deselect the individual items as you desire. Remember to click OK when you are done.
     
  2. Word creates a hyperlink as you type in a Web page address. Sometimes this is handy, but often not. To turn this off, go to Tools | AutoCorrect Options and select the AutoFormat as you Type tab. Then, deselect the Internet and Network Paths With Hyperlinks box and click OK.
     
  3. Word changes capitalization as you type. There are a number of settings available here. To change the behavior, go to Tools | AutoCorrect Options and select the Auto Correct tab. Deselect the options you do not want. Available options include:
  • Correct Two Initial Capitals
  • Capitalize First Letter Of Sentences
  • Capitalize First Letter Of Table Cells
  • Capitalize Names Of Days
  • Correct Accidental Use Of Caps Lock Key
  1. When you type three or more hyphens and press Enter, Word inserts a border line. To stop this behavior, go to Tools | AutoFormat and select the AutoFormat As You Type Tab. Deselect the Border Lines check box and click OK.
     
  2. Word turns straight apostrophes and quote marks into curly characters. To cure this, go to Tools | AutoCorrect Options and click the AutoFormat As You Type Tab. Deselect the Straight Quotes With Smart Quotes check box and click OK.
     
  3. Word superscripts your ordinal numbers such as 1st and 2nd with 1st and 2nd. To prevent this, go to Tools | AutoCorrect Options, and click the AutoFormat As You Type tab. Then, deselect the Ordinals (1st) With Superscript check box and click OK.
     
  4. Word automatically adds numbers or bullets at the beginning of lines as you type them. This is perhaps one of Word's most annoying habits, but you need not put up with it. There are two types of this annoyance that you can change. The first is when you start typing something, Word thinks it is a bulleted list, or when you type a number and some text, it may convert what you typed to a bulleted list or numbered list format when you press Enter.

    To prevent this, go to Tools | AutoCorrect Options and select the AutoFormat As You Type tab. Find and deselect the box(s) labeled Automatic Bulleted list and/or Automatic Numbered list and click OK.

    Related to this behavior is when you are entering automatic list items, pressing Enter keeps perpetuating the list. Word will continue to insert bullets or numbers in your list. To end this, simply press Enter a second time and the automatic list feature will end.
     
  5. When you type hyphens, Word inserts an em dash or an en dash. If you type a word, two hyphens, and another word (with no spaces), Word will convert the hyphens to an em dash. If you type a space before and after the hyphens, Word will convert them to an en dash.

    To stop this feature from executing, go to Tools | AutoCorrect Options and select the AutoFormat As You Type tab. Then, deselect the Hyphens (--) with () check box and click OK. On older versions of Word, the check box will be labeled Symbol Characters (--) with symbols ().
     
  6. When you try to select a few characters within a word, the highlight jumps to select the entire word. To stop this from happening, go to Tools | Options and select the Edit tab. In the Editing Options, deselect the box When Selecting, Automatically Select Entire Word and click OK.
     
  7. Word converts fractions into formatted versions. As you are typing, Word will convert 1/2 to . To stop this from happening, go to Tools | AutoCorrect Options and click the AutoFormat As You Type tab and deselect the box Fractions (1/2) With Fraction Character () and click OK.
     
  8. You are typing and everything in front of the cursor is disappearing. The problem is that the Overtype mode has been activated. To stop this, got to Tools | Options and select the edit tab. Under Editing Options, deselect the Overtype Mode and click OK. This mode will also be shown on the status bar at the bottom of the Word window, and it is a box labeled OVR. You can also double-click this box to toggle the Overtype on or off.
     
  9. Everything is gone. Menu, toolbars, everything is gone. You have entered the Full Screen View mode. A number of user actions could have caused this. To set things back to the normal view, hold down Alt and press V and select the Normal View option.
     
  10. You see grey and brackets around your text. This means the bookmark display has been enabled. To restore things to normal, go to Tools | Options and select the View tab. Under the Show options, deselect the box labeled Bookmarks and click OK. You will find that Ctrl + F9 will also turn the bookmark display on.
     
  11. You will also find this tip useful: Alt + F10 or Ctrl + F10 will allow you to toggle back and forth between Maximize and Restore Down for the screen display.

Word 2007-

The above settings are also accessible in Word 2007 via the Office button.

  • To get to the AutoCorrect dialog box, click the Office button, select Word Options at the bottom of the menu, and choose Proofing from the pane on the left. In the pane on the right, click the Auto Correct Options button, and Word will display the AutoCorrect dialog box containing the AutoCorrect and AutoFormat As You Type tabs.
     
  • To get to editing options, click the Office button, select Word Options at the bottom of the menu, and choose Advanced from the pane on the left. Word will display Editing Options at the top of the pane on the right. In that section, you will find the When Selecting, Automatically Select Entire Word option and the Use Overtype Mode option. Scroll down and you will also find the Show Bookmarks check box.
     
  • The successor to Full Screen view in Word 2007 is called Full Screen Reading view. There is a Close button in the upper-right corner that will take you back to Print Layout view.

Hopefully these tips and settings will allow you to take control of Word and get it to work the way you want it to for you. Until next time here on 5 Star Support, happy computing!

Dave

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