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: AutoFormatting a Document.

AutoFormatting a Document

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 11, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Word includes a feature that formats what you type, as you type it. You probably take many of these automatic formatting (AutoFormat) adjustments for granted. Word does things like changing your quotes to Smart Quotes, automatically creating bulleted and numbered lists, and changing the indentation of paragraphs.

This is fine and good for many people, but what if you get a document from someone else and it needs a lot of the "little touches" applied to it? This is where the real industrial-strength AutoFormat feature of Word comes into play. You see, AutoFormat doesn't just work as you type—it also is available, on demand, to format an entire document. Here's how to AutoFormat your document:

  1. Load the document you want to format.
  2. Choose AutoFormat from the Format menu. Word displays the AutoFormat dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The AutoFormat dialog box.

  4. Use the radio buttons to indicate if you want AutoFormat to work without stopping for your input, or not.
  5. Click on OK.

At this point, AutoFormat works its magic and your document is "reformatted" to appear as it would have if you had typed it yourself.

You should understand that it is very unlikely that AutoFormat will do all the formatting you need done. Each document is different, and you should make sure you examine the document after AutoFormat is completed to see if there are any other formatting tasks you need to complete.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (638) 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: AutoFormatting a Document.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Printing a Bookmark List

Need to know what bookmarks are defined in a document? Here's a macro that creates a list of all your bookmarks so that ...

Discover More

Printing Show/Hide Characters

Non-printing characters are very handy to view when editing a document. But what if you want those characters to no ...

Discover More

Self-Adjusting Column Widths

It is important to understand how column widths relate to the margins you may have set in your document. The reason is ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (menu)

Extending a Paragraph into the Left Margin

Word allows you to format a paragraph so that it extends into the left margin of the document. This is done by setting a ...

Discover More

Inserting Signature Lines

How to create signature lines in a Word document.

Discover More

Reversed Bolding

If you paste information from one document into another, you may be surprised at the results. If your text changes from ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is one less than 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Videos
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.