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: AutoFormat within Form Fields.

AutoFormat within Form Fields

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 8, 2016)

Mary was having a problem getting AutoFormat As You Type to convert "straight quotes" to "smart quotes" within the fields of protected forms.

Unfortunately, this seems to be one of the vagaries of working with Word. Quite a number of Word's features won't work in the fields of a protected form; AutoFormat As You Type is just one of them. Why the Word designers set things up this way is one of the great mysteries of the universe.

The only possible workaround would be to write some sort of OnExit macro that is triggered when the form's user moves from one form field to another. The macro could examine the contents of the form field and change any straight quotes to curly quotes. This, of course, is not an ideal workaround, since you might not want all quotes converted, which means the parsing rules can get rather complex.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1637) 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: AutoFormat within Form Fields.

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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