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 November 28, 2017)

1

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

Removing the Box from a Text Box

Insert a text box and it is automatically formatted to have a border around it. Getting rid of the border is easy if you ...

Discover More

Moving the Insertion Point to the End of a Line

When writing a macro to process the text in a document, you may need to move the insertion point to the end of a line. ...

Discover More

Searching for a Document

When switching from one version of Word to another it can be confusing to figure out where all the commands and features ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (menu)

The Standard on the Ruler

Need to know all there is to know about the Ruler? This tip leads to a valuable Word MVP article on the subject.

Discover More

Understanding Strikethrough Formatting

The strikethrough text feature in Word can be used as part of your document or to indicate that changes have been made to ...

Discover More

AutoFormatting a Document

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}] 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 three more than 5?

2012-01-28 00:31:32

Larry

SEE MY LAST PARAGRAPH FOR WHAT MAY BE THE BEST IDEA.
I wrote a fairly cool toolbar Macro to take paragraph returns out of unwanted locations. The "uncool" part is that unless you want to do this to a whole document, you have to be able to recognize what lines constitute a paragraph (as intended by the original author).
Short paragraphs are a pain this way, but long paragraphs make this a wonderful tool:
Highlight all but the last line of an original paragraph, hit the toolbar button for the Macro, and then hit "N" for "No" (to not do the whole document).
The Macro [I use the trashcan icon for the toolbar button] is:

Sub RemoveParaCom()
'
' RemoveParaCom Macro
' Macro recorded 2/22/10 by [name of Word user]
'
Selection.Find.ClearFormatting
Selection.Find.Replacement.ClearFormatting
With Selection.Find
.Text = "^p"
.Replacement.Text = " "
.Forward = True
.Wrap = wdFindAsk
.Format = False
.MatchCase = False
.MatchWholeWord = False
.MatchWildcards = False
.MatchSoundsLike = False
.MatchAllWordForms = False
End With
Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
End Sub

If anyone has a better idea, I'm all ears. (You can, of course, first do Edit/Replace and tell Word to replace 2 or 3 CONSECUTIVE Paragraph Returns [which should indicate where original paragraphs were "broken"] with an unusual word of your choosing. Then, wipe out ALL Paragraph Returns in the document, and finally, Edit/Replace the unusual word with one or more Paragraph Returns.)


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.

Newest Tips
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.