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: Formatting E-mail using AutoFormat.

Formatting E-mail using AutoFormat

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 7, 2021)

I can't tell you how many requests I receive from people wanting to know how to format e-mail messages in Word. They receive e-mail, and immediately notice that each line has a "hard return" at the end, with double-returns between paragraphs. While it is possible to print out the e-mail, it is wasteful of paper since the full width of the page is not used. In addition, you may want to work with the message within Word for some reason.

The easiest way I have found to format an e-mail message is by using the AutoFormat feature of Word. Simply select the text and press Ctrl+Alt+K. This initiates the AutoFormat feature of Word. Absent any instructions to the contrary, it will format information into regular paragraphs and remove extra spaces between paragraphs. This will accomplish what 90% of WordTips readers want done, about 90% of the time.

If you want to adjust how Word does the actual formatting, follow these steps:

  1. Choose AutoCorrect from the Tools menu. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box.
  2. Select the AutoFormat tab. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The AutoFormat tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  4. Make adjustments to the options in the dialog box. These options control how AutoFormat does its job.
  5. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (981) 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: Formatting E-mail using AutoFormat.

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

Problem with Missing Context Menu Option

When you right-click a cell, does it seem that the Context menu is missing an item or two? Here's how to get those items ...

Discover More

Deleting Files or Folders

Part of managing the files and folders on a system is the need to occasionally delete them. Here's a quick discussion on ...

Discover More

Rounded Corners on Cells

As you are formatting a worksheet, Excel allows you to easily add borders to cells. Adding rounded corners to cells is a ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Setting the Wrapping Default for Objects

Want to have objects such as text boxes and shapes always appear using some formatting you like? Here are some ideas on ...

Discover More

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

Changing AutoFormatting Rules

The AutoFormat feature of Word can be configured to make changes to a variety of conditions in your document. Here's how ...

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 7 - 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.