Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 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: Getting Rid of Blue Squiggly Underlines.

Getting Rid of Blue Squiggly Underlines

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 9, 2021)

16

Ivan noted that on his PC the text he writes is frequently "marred" by squiggly underlines in blue. Right-clicking gives him options of Ignore Once, Ignore Rule, or Replace Direct Formatting with Style Normal. Ivan wants to turn off the blue squiggly underlines and is wondering how to do it.

Word likes squiggly underlines—the most common being red (a potential spelling error) and green (a potential grammar error). The latest squiggly underline introduced in Word is blue, which marks formatting inconsistencies. (This type of marking was introduced in Word 2002.) That is why you see the options you do—particularly "Replace Direct Formatting with Style Normal"—when you right-click the underlined word or phrase.

You can turn off this marking by making a configuration change in Word:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Edit tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Edit tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Clear the Mark Formatting Inconsistencies check box.
  5. Click 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 (3449) applies to Microsoft Word 2002 and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Getting Rid of Blue Squiggly Underlines.

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

Resolving Tracked Changes in Footnotes or Endnotes

Track Changes is a great tool that can aid in developing a document. If you have footnotes or endnotes in a document that ...

Discover More

Resizing a Picture

Place a graphic into a worksheet, and it is inevitable that you'll need to change the size of that graphic. Here's the ...

Discover More

Replacing Dashes with Periods

Replacing one character in a text value with another character is easy. All you need to do is use the SUBSTITUTE ...

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)

Removing Errant Buttons

Got some toolbar buttons that are rather stubborn? Getting rid of buttons that are installed by an external program can ...

Discover More

Status Bar Icons

Near the center of the status bar Word displays a number of different icons. This tip describes the meaning of each ...

Discover More

Reveal Codes in Word

While there are no true Reveal Codes in Word, as in WordPerfect, as they are vastly different word processors, there is a ...

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 3 - 1?

2020-06-19 13:01:59

Julio Jimenez

Thank you sir. You just help me get rid of this horrible headache.


2019-08-19 20:53:40

This Damn Machine…

I would like to know if there is any way to turn off the format inconsistency indicator (blue wavy line) on a document by document basis, or can it only be activated/deactivated globally? (I am currently using Word 2007, and it appears that the solution to this issue varies among various iterations of the program.)


2019-03-24 06:33:58

Sarah

I do no have a Tool in 2013 on my tabs with options only in documents and there is nothing there


2017-01-07 16:56:01

allen@sharonparq.com

Lois: Click the link at the beginning or end of the article to see a version for later versions of Word.

-Allen


2017-01-07 16:46:34

Lois Churchwell

the tip on this page does NOT show instructions for Word 2016, "how to turn off direct formatting." Please advise.


2016-10-26 11:28:23

Frank D

Thank you! Your work is much appreciated.


2016-10-25 11:59:48

Von Pem

Brilliant site and helped me a lot.

Thank you.


2015-06-23 16:00:00

Jane

Short and sweet. It worked! Thank you so much. Best answer.


2015-02-19 19:54:43

Dina

Great, short and to the point! Thank u :)


2014-09-15 08:36:21

N J

Thank you for helping me maintain my sanity!


2014-08-11 05:44:59

Ernest Bledsoe

Thank you for the tip. I was getting very irritated by the blue squiggly lines. I wish they had a "restore everything to default" button.


2013-02-26 08:20:10

Rose Putnam

Thanks titus+254 for the help.


2013-02-25 07:38:27

titus +254

HI ROSE PUTNAM, HOW ARE YOU..
hope my help ain't late, follow the directives below for Microsoft Office 7

Just click the OFFICE button, on your bottom left you will see word options, click.
Then on the left panel you will see ADVANCED setting, click it, check on the options that pop-up you will see MARK FORMATTING INCONSISTENCIES under KEEP TRACK OF FORMATTING BUTTON.. Then unmark it.


2012-12-21 09:49:12

Rose Putnam

Thank you Allen. My problem is all taken care of now. It was so easy to correct again, thank you.


2012-12-20 20:05:31

awyatt

Rose,

This tip (the one above) is NOT for your version of Word. You need to click the link at the end of the article to take you to the version of the tip for Word 2007.

-Allen


2012-12-20 17:26:45

Rose Putnam

Getting Rid of Blue Squiggly Underlines. I read the instructions and looks pretty simple to turn off formatting inconsistencies. However, try as I might within my word program 7 I cannot find the tools tab that brings up Options. I probably sound stupid but please help. Those blue lines are driving me crazy.


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.