Specific Capitalization

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 20, 2014)

Word includes many different tools that try to analyze what you are writing, and then make changes based on what it thinks you meant. One such tool automatically capitalizes the first letter of sentences. This can be a great help, but in some situations it can be a bother. For instance, if you have a company name or title that uses specific capitalization, then automatically capitalizing the first letter of a sentence can result in incorrect use of a term. As an example, suppose your company name is eWidget. If you type this company name in the middle of a sentence, there is no problem. If you type it at the beginning of a sentence, then you end up with EWidget, since Word capitalizes the first letter of a sentence.

It is interesting to note that this problem only occurs in Word 97 and Word 2000. In Word 2002, the AutoCorrect feature figures that if you capitalize the second letter of a word, but not the first, that you really intended it to be that way. Thus, no change is made, even at the first of a sentence.

If you are using Word 97 or Word 2000, the most obvious solution is to turn off first-letter capitalization in sentences. This is akin to throwing the baby out with the bath water, however--you lose the benefits of the tool because of a single problem with it. You might think that a solution is to use AutoCorrect's exception feature, but this doesn't work for this instance. You can specify sentence endings after which words should not be capitalized, but you cannot specify words that should not be capitalized when they appear at the beginning of sentences.

I even tried different combinations of AutoCorrect terms and AutoText terms, but to no avail. It seems that that "capitalize first letter" setting overrides them all. There was one solution that did work, however: use a macro. This may seem strange, but it works because Word doesn't try to capitalize text inserted with a macro. Thus, you could create this simple macro:

Sub CompanyName()
    Selection.TypeText Text:="eWidget "
End Sub

Make sure you include the trailing space after the company name in the macro. Once created, you can assign the macro to a keyboard shortcut, and then use that shortcut anytime you need to enter the company name.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1615) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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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