A Word… or Two

I use Microsoft Office Word 2007 to craft my novels in. It’s user friendly and it has features over the older versions that I just love such as smart spell check.

A fellow author asked me a couple of questions about why Word takes curvy quotation marks and apostrophe’s and makes them straight. I had no idea why it did that but a quick find and replace fixed all of those buggers. Then, we wanted to know why it happened in the first place and how to stop it.

So, here are some helpful tips:

http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/msoffice/?cat=3

The annoyances

Behavior How to turn it off
#1: Word creates a hyperlink when you type a Web page address. Go to Tools | AutoCorrect Options and select the AutoFormat As You Type tab. Under Replace As You Type, deselect the Internet And Network Paths With Hyperlinks check box and click OK.
#2: Word changes capitalization of text as you type it. A host of settings can trigger this behavior. Go to Tools | AutoCorrect Options and select the AutoCorrect tab. Here, you can deselect whichever check boxes govern the unwanted actions: 

  • 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
#3: Word inserts symbols unexpectedly, such as trademark or copyright characters or even inserts an entire passage of text. Go to Tools | AutoCorrect Options and select the AutoCorrect tab. This time, find the Replace Text As You Type check box. Either deselect it to suppress all replacements or select and delete individual items in the list below it.It might make sense to keep the feature enabled and selectively remove items, since the list includes scores of common misspellings that are actually nice to have corrected for you.
#4: Word superscripts your ordinal numbers, such as 1st and 2nd. Go to Tools | AutoCorrect Options and click the AutoFormat As You Type tab. Deselect the Ordinals (1st) With Superscript check box and click OK.
#5: Word converts fractions into formatted versions. Go to Tools | AutoCorrect Options and click the AutoFormat As You Type tab. Deselect the Fractions (1/2) With Fraction Character option.
#6: Word turns straight apostrophes and quote marks into curly characters. 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.
#7: When you try to select a few characters within a word, the highlight jumps to select the entire word. Go to Tools | Options and click the Edit tab. In the right column under Editing Options, deselect the When Selecting, Automatically Select Entire Word check box and click OK.
#8: When you type three or more hyphens and press Enter, Word inserts a border line. Go to Tools | AutoFormat and select the AutoFormat As You Type tab. Deselect the Border Lines check box and click OK.A similar option exists for inserting a table, but it’s generally not going to sneak up on you: When the Tables check box is selected, typing a series of hyphens and plus marks before pressing Enter will insert a table (with the hyphens representing cells). You can turn off that option if you think you might stumble into an unwanted table insertion.
#9: Word automatically adds numbers or bullets at the beginning of lines as you type them. There are two flavors of this potential annoyance. First, if you start to type something Word thinks is a bulleted list (using asterisks, say) or type 1, a period, and some text, it may convert what you type to bulleted or numbered list format when you press Enter.To prevent this, go to Tools | AutoCorrect Options and select the AutoFormat As You Type tab. Then, deselect the Automatic Bulleted List and/or Automatic Numbered list check boxes and click OK.A related aspect of this behavior is that once you’re entering automatic list items, pressing Enter will perpetuate it — Word will keep inserting bullets or numbers on each new line. To free yourself from this formatting frenzy, just press Enter a second time, and Word will knock it off.
#10: When you type hyphens, Word inserts an em dash or an en dash. If you type a word, two hyphens, and another word (no spaces), Word will convert the hyphens to an em dash. If you type a space before and after the hyphens, it will convert them to an en dash.To disable this feature, Go to Tools | AutoCorrect Options and select the AutoFormat As You Type tab. Deselect the Hyphens (–) With Dash (-) check box and click OK.

Bonus fixes

Word may cause your users some additional grief in various other ways besides automatic behaviors. It goes a little something like this:

User: My document if full of weird code stuff and my pictures are gone.
Culprit: Field code display has been toggled on.
Solution: Suggest that the user press Alt+F9 to restore the display of field code results.

User: I’m seeing gray brackets around a bunch of my text.
Culprit: Bookmark display has been enabled.
Solution: Go to Tools | Options and select the View tab. Then, under the Show options, deselect the Bookmarks check box and click OK.

User: I’m typing and everything in front of the cursor is disappearing.
Culprit: The evil Overtype mode has been activated.
Solution: Go to Tools | Options and select the Edit tab. Then, under Editing Options, deselect the Overtype Mode check box and click OK. (It might be quicker to double-click OVR on the status bar, if you can point the user to it.)

User: Everything’s gone, all my toolbars and menus and everything — there’s nothing here but text.
Culprit: The user has landed in Full Screen view.
Solution: Direct the user’s attention to the Close Full Screen View button at the bottom of the window (depending on the version) or tell them to press Alt+V to display the View menu. They can then select Full Screen to turn off that view mode and return to familiar territory.


Accessing the options in Word 2007

All the settings we’ve discussed here are accessible via the Office button in Word 2007:

  • 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 AutoCorrect 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’ll find the When Selecting, Automatically Select Entire Word check box and the Use Overtype Mode option. If you scroll down to the Show Document Content section, you’ll find the Show Bookmarks check box.
  • The successor to Full Screen view in Word 2007 is Full Screen Reading view. Users shouldn’t get stuck there, but if they do, the Close button in the upper-right corner of the window will take them back to Print Layout view.

~ Claire Collins

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “A Word… or Two

  1. Been using Word since Version 2. In the modern Word, I recorded 2 macros (and tweaked them):
    SetAuthoringOn — turn on curly quotes, spell and grammar checking, etc.
    SetAuthoringOff — turn off curly quotes, no spell or grammar checking, etc.

    I do technical writing which often requires exact phrasing, punctuation, etc. For this, Word please don’t try to help.

    I also write fiction, which is the opposite end — help me all you want, Word, but if I say, “x”, I want “x”, not “X”.

    If you can define your needs for different modes, you can record the setup sequence to set it.

    Hope this helps.

  2. Thanks for those tips! I have a very old Word from the year 2000. Many of those things happen to me, and more. For me, that unwanted bullet list is one of the most annoying followed by the capitalization of first letters when I don’t want them.

  3. christinehusom

    I’m putting this in my favorites, thanks Claire! I don’t have Word at home, but we got Word 2007 at the office and I find it very unfriendly to use–like where the heck is Spell Check? Okay, my daughter finally found it. And fighting with the computer when it wants to cap a word–I change it–it changes it back. There I sit, having a silent dispute with my computer!

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