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: Ignoring Punctuation in Names.

Ignoring Punctuation in Names

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 28, 2017)

1

Many companies these days are coming out with product names that include some sort of punctuation. We are all familiar with Yahoo! and how they added the exclamation mark (as a formal part of the company name), probably to denote excitement. Many other companies are doing the same thing. This is all fine and good from a marketing standpoint, but it can cause misery when you are trying to do a spelling and grammar check in Word.

What happens is that when Word does the spell check, it ignores all punctuation. Thus, even if you add the product name (with the punctuation mark) to the custom dictionary, it still ignores the punctuation and finds a spelling error during the spell check. Later, when it does a grammar check, it doesn't ignore the punctuation, and it considers the punctuation (in this case an exclamation point) as the end of the sentence. Instead of viewing your sentence as a whole, Word treats it as two fragments and generates the appropriate grammar warnings. If you have a document with your product name used many times, this can be a real pain!

Enterprising Word users may believe they can fix the problem by selecting the product name (with the punctuation) and setting the language to (no checking). The problem is that while Word will not find a spelling problem with the product name, it will still find a grammar problem because it sees the non-capitalized letter following the punctuation mark.

Believe it or not, there is a solution (besides changing the product name). The core part of the solution is to replace the exclamation mark with a symbol. That way, the grammar checker will ignore it when doing punctuation checks. Do the following:

  1. Type the product name without the exclamation mark.
  2. Choose Insert | Symbol. Word displays the Symbol dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Symbol dialog box.

  4. In the Font drop-down list, select the Symbol font.
  5. In the list of symbols, choose the exclamation mark. It is the second character on the top row.
  6. Click the Insert button.
  7. Click Close.

You now have your exclamation mark that isn't really an exclamation mark, and Word ignores it during both spelling and grammar checking.

It also means that, if AutoCorrect As You Type is on and Word normally auto-corrects first letter capitalization for sentences, it will ignore the symbol version of the exclamation mark and not auto-correct where it's not required. In other words, the first word after the product name won't be automatically capitalized as you type.

The only remaining problem is that going through the Insert Symbol route is a bit too much like hard work. What would be better is to type the product name using the normal exclamation mark but have it automatically change itself to use the symbol version. Assuming the product name has been typed and the symbol exclamation mark added as above, then follow these steps:

  1. Select the product name including the symbol exclamation mark.
  2. Choose the AutoCorrect option from the Tools menu. (In Word 2002 and Word 2003 you choose AutoCorrect Options from the Tools menu.) Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box (See Figure 2.) with the selected text already entered in the With box and the Formatted Text option already selected.
  3. Figure 2. The AutoCorrect dialog box.

  4. In the Replace box type the product name with a normal exclamation mark.
  5. Click the Add button.
  6. Click Close to close the dialog box.

Now, typing the name and using a normal exclamation mark will result in that normal exclamation mark automatically changing to the symbol version—the spelling and grammar checkers will ignore it and so will automatic capitalization.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1834) 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: Ignoring Punctuation in Names.

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

Understanding Subroutines

The heart of creating powerful programs in VBA is to understand how to create subroutines. These structures allow you to ...

Discover More

Dynamic Headers and Footers

Do you want to change the headers and footers that appear on different pages of your printout? Here's how you can get just ...

Discover More

Generating Unique, Sequential Names

Do you need to create a number of words or phrases where you only alter a few letters in each one? If the alterations follow ...

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)

Specifying Sub-entries in an AutoMark File

An AutoMark file allows you to quickly and easily create an index from a document. This can be a great boon for large ...

Discover More

Equation Editor Font Color

If you want to change the color used by the Equation Editor, you may be out of luck. In fact, the best solution may be to ...

Discover More

Using the Organizer to Manage Macros

There may come a time when you want to copy or rename macros. You can do this quite easily by using the Organizer tool ...

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 9 - 2?

2016-01-25 12:00:36

Jim Kyle

Great idea for the exclamation point, but I can't find a symbol that's a true replacement for the period -- as in Dr. or Jr. or Sr. or for that matter U.S. -- all of which I use much more often.


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.