How to Change AutoFormat Options in Word

If you don't want Word to automatically format your text, change it.

AutoCorrect and AutoFormat Options. Credit: www.addintools.com / Google Images

Microsoft Word's AutoFormat feature is enabled by default and is designed to assist you in keeping your text formatting consistent. AutoFormat will make changes, corrections and character substitutions as you type. For example, typing double dashes (--) will be AutoFormatted into the em dash character (—) automatically.

For some Word users, however, AutoFormat may present problems, or they may find the formatting unwanted or even intrusive.

Word does let you change its AutoFormat settings, allowing you to use the AutoFormat features you want and disable those you don't.

Changing AutoFormat Settings

The steps for changing the AutoFormat settings in Word vary slightly depending on the version you are using:

Word 2003

  1. Click Tools in the top menu.
  2. Click AutoCorrect Options...
  3. Click on the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  4. Deselect the AutoFormat options you do not want Word to use.
  5. Click OK.

Word 2007

  1. Click the Microsoft Office button in the upper left corner.
  2. Click Word Options at the bottom of the menu. This opens the Word Options dialog box.
  3. Click Proofing in the left pane.
  4. In the AutoCorrect options section, click the AutoCorrect Options... button.
  5. Click the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  6. Deselect the AutoFormat options you do not want Word to use.
  7. Click OK, and then click OK on the Word Options dialog box.

Word 2010 and Later

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Options from the left menu. This opens the Word Options dialog box.
  1. Click Proofing in the left pane.
  2. In the AutoCorrect options section, click the AutoCorrect Options... button.
  3. Click the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  4. Deselect the AutoFormat options you do not want Word to use.
  5. Click OK, and then click OK on the Word Options dialog box.

Changing these settings only affect AutoFormatting that occurs as you type.

It does not affect AutoFormat options selected from menus or buttons.

AutoFormat Menu Options and Toolbar Buttons

In the Word 2003 Format menu, there is an AutoFormat option that will AutoFormat your entire document. The AutoFormat settings you changed under the "AutoFormat As You Type" tab will not apply in this case.

In versions of Word after 2003, the AutoFormat... menu option is no longer available; however, you can add an AutoFormat button to your Quick Access Toolbar:

Word 2007

  1. Click the Microsoft Office button.
  2. Click Word Options at the bottom of the menu box. This opens the Word Options dialog box.
  3. Click Customize in the left pane.
  4. In the "Choose commands from" dropdown list, select All Commands.
  5. In the list of commands, select AutoFormat (or AutoFormat Now), and click Add>>.
  6. Click OK

The AutoFormat button you chose will now appear in the Quick Access Toolbar at the top of the Word window.

Word 2010 and Later

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Options from the menu. This opens the Word Options dialog box.
  3. Click Customize Ribbon in the left pane.
  4. In the "Choose commands from" dropdown list, select All Commands.
  5. In the list of commands, select AutoFormat (or AutoFormat Now), and click Add>>.
  6. Click OK