While the new Microsoft Office Word 2007 has simply made things a whole lot easier for entry-level users as a whole, it can be more than a little frustrating to the experienced Word user who can now no longer find the functionality that they know is, or at least once was, there. Another annoying habit (well, to some like myself) is Word’s tendency to ‘auto correct’ and ‘auto format’ your text as you type.
Now usually Word is spot on in its corrections, but when it comes to using Word as a plain text editor this could lead you to some serious trouble, particularly when Word is hell-bent on changing all of your quotation and apostrophe marks from standard straight quotes to Word’s curved ‘smart’ quotes! Of course, the functionality to turn off this auto formatting and correcting IS sitting there in Word – it is just a little hidden if you don’t know where to look for it in the first place!
So step 1 in changing the way Word handles its auto formatting and corrections: click on the little “Office button” on the top left of the screen to open Word’s Save and Print menu box. At the bottom of the menu, right next to the “Exit Word” menu option, click on the “Word Options” button.
From the resulting dialog box that appears, locate and select the “Proofing” menu option that should appear about third in the list of menu options listed on the left of the dialog.
Click on the “AutoCorrect Options…” button found in the first couple of lines of the “Proofing” menu and that will bring up the following AutoCorrect dialog box:
By selecting the “AutoFormat As You Type” tab on the resulting dialog window, you’ll see right on the top left a section entitled “Replace as you type” and under it, a whole lot of check boxes controlling what Word replaces as you type. Change the options as you want it and click on “Ok” to submit.
And there you have it, Bob’s your uncle – Word now finally behaves exactly how you want it to!
Note: Exploring the AutoCorrect options dialog further can really enhance the way in which you can force Word to respond in the way that you want it to. For instance, to stop Word from automatically converting :( to a smiley face, locate the AutoCorrect tab and remove the “Replace text as you type” rule dealing with :(