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Microsoft Word Is Great But I Wish I Could…

Microsoft Word is all singing, all dancing. Truly a great product which has made the lives of professional writers and students vastly more productive.

Most of us however are not professional writers. We only use Word to type an occasional missive or and article now and then. We don’t need or use 90% of the bells and whistles. Unfortunately, some of these built in bells and whistles are designed to impose themselves and often like to blow loudly in our ears whether we asked for it or not.

Research shows there are three common pet hate ‘features’ that most average users would rather turn off if only they knew how. This is a cheat sheet for such users.

A. How do I stop Word from helping me type?

Word checks spelling and grammar as you type. When these features are on, spelling and grammar that Word does not recognize are underlined sternly with wavy red and green lines.

To turn off Word’s various automatic checking features:

  1. From the Tools menu, pick ‘AutoCorrect’ (or AutoCorrect Options). Then click on the ‘AutoCorrect’ tab.
  2. Uncheck the boxes for the AutoCorrect items that you want to disable.
  3. Do the same on the ‘AutoFormat As You Type’ tab.
  4. On the ‘AutoText’ tab, uncheck the ‘Show AutoComplete tip’ box.
  5. From the Tools menu, pick ‘Options’ then click on the tabs and uncheck any boxes for features that you want to disable.

B. How do I tell the Office Assistant to go take a walk?

  1. Click on the Office Assistant, then click on ‘Options’.
  2. Uncheck the ‘Use Office Assistant’ box.

You can also customize the behavior of the Office Assistant by checking or clearing the checkboxes on the ‘Options’ tab.

If you later decide that you rather miss the lovable Assistant, you can easily bring him back by choosing ‘Show the Office Assistant’ from the Help menu.

C. How do I turn off the automatic URLs?

Word likes to convert all URLs and email addresses in your document into active hyperlinks. If you’d rather not, then here’s how to turn off that feature:

  1. From the Tools menu, Choose ‘AutoCorrect’ (or AutoCorrect Options)
  2. Click on ‘AutoFormat As You Type’ tab.
  3. Under ‘Replace As You Type’, uncheck the ‘Internet and network paths with hyperlink’ box.

Note that this setting only applies to what you subsequently type. If you forgot to turn off AutoCorrect before you started and you end up with a document full of hyperlinks that you don’t want, you can disable them, either one at a time, or all at once. To turn a link off, right-click on the link, select ‘Hyperlink’ from the pop-up menu, and then select ‘Remove Hyperlink’. To remove all links from the document, choose Select All from the Edit menu or press [Ctrl]+[A], and then press [Ctrl]+[6] to remove all hyperlinks.

Most Word features can be turned off or on from the ‘Tools’ menu. From this menu, the ‘Options’ command brings up a screen with several tabs where you can make all sorts of changes to Word’s behavior. The ‘Customize’ command lets you to change Word’s menus and toolbars.

The ‘View’ menu also has some great options for changing the look of the Word screen.


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