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Getting Help from Microsoft Word
You Might Not Want

"AutoCorrect" Does Automatic Bullets & Numbering
(Along with Other Things Which Can Be Helpful -- or Annoying)

One of the questions I hear most regarding Word is why the program often does strange things not asked for. For instance, if you type three or more dashes/hyphens ( - ) in a row and press Enter, a line will appear that goes clear across your page. The same is true for typing three or more underscores ( _ ). Do this with "equal signs" ( = ) and a double-line goes across the page.

Either of the above can be undone with Edit>Undo (Ctrl+Z), whereupon the original number of symbols typed will appear as desired. Beyond that, these "AutoCorrect" behaviors can be defeated altogether, as will be explained shortly.

Another AutoCorrect feature kicks in if you type, say, the numeral 1 or the letter A followed by pressing Tab and doing some typing. When you finish a paragraph by pressing Enter, the numeral 2 (or the letter B) will appear on a new line and tab the cursor over to align itself under the paragraph just typed. Subsequent Enters will begin new paragraphs with correspondingly sequential characters.

You can defeat these automatic functions by going to Tools>AutoCorrect Options. Under AutoFormat As You Type>Apply As You Type, UNcheck "Border Lines" to keep hyphens, underscores, and equal signs from becoming page-width lines.

In this same area, uncheck Automatic Bulleted Lists and Automatic Numbered Lists to stop unwanted sequential numbering of paragraphs. To solidify this fix, you also need to uncheck Automatic Bulleted Lists under AutoFormat.

If you do want numbered or bulleted paragraphs with "hanging indents" you can go to Format>Bullets & Numbering, where several stylish ways of creating such lists can be found and easily applied.

Getting Useful Help from MSWord's AutoCorrect Functions

If the above examples suggest that Word's AutoCorrect features are there mainly to complicate things, there are actually some very helpful functions available.

Under Tools>AutoCorrect>AutoCorrect you'll find a list of commonly misspelled words along with their correct spellings, which Word will substitute for you if you type in one the listed misspellings. Certain letter and character combinations will generate often-used symbols, such as (c) becoming © and (r) becoming ®. Again, Edit>Undo will reverse any unwanted transformations.

Also found in this area are a Replace and a With box, into which you can type your own auto-corrections, including substituting a multi-word phrase for a few letters. For instance, usa can be told to automatically become United States of America, while manana can be made to morph into maņana.

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