Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Understanding the Normalize Text Command.

Understanding the Normalize Text Command

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 17, 2011)

In the process of doing some customizations to Word, Toya was looking through the list of commands that could be added to the menus and toolbars. (This is in the Customize dialog box.) One of the commands is "Normalize Text." Toya can find next to nothing about this command, and hopes to understand more.

Good question, Toya. You are right that there is virtually nothing about this command available on the Web. So, we did a little detective work within Word itself to see if we could figure out more. We were able to come up with one other tidbit of information.

When you use the Customize dialog box (as you did), it is a great way to see all of the commands that are available within Word. It isn't terribly helpful on giving you information about what each command does, however. To do this, you need to pull up the Macros dialog box. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Macros dialog box. (Easiest way is to just press Alt+F8.)
  2. Using the Macros In drop-down list, choose Word Commands.
  3. Scroll through the list of commands until you can see and select (click once) the NormalizeText command.

In the Description box (just under the Macros In drop-down list) you should see a very terse description of what the NormalizeText command does: "Make text consistent with the rest." This is the only clue—anywhere—that we could find as to what this command does.

Exactly what effect the command has, we can't tell. We created some documents and applied various formatting to paragraphs and characters. We then selected the text and executed the NormalizeText command. There was nothing that happened to any of the formatting.

Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that the consistency referenced in the description has nothing to do with formatting. It could also be very possible that the command has no effect in English, but instead is used for text in other languages. (There are all sorts of internal commands that Word uses, for instance, to work with Asian languages and others that don't rely on the Roman alphabet.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (420) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Understanding the Normalize Text Command.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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