After Pressing Enter, Text Becomes a Heading

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 19, 2019)

2

When Arlene begins typing a document, the text starts out in Normal style. She frequently types short bits of text with no punctuation at the end. When she presses Enter a couple of times to move to a new line, the style changes to Heading 1 with different font and color (of course). When it happens she backspaces and the text reverts to her default font and style. She wonders why Word is doing this.

Believe it or not, this is a built-in feature of Word. In its never-ending quest to be as helpful as possible, Word tries to anticipate how you want your text formatted. If you type in a paragraph that contains a small number of words (typically five words or less) and you don't put a punctuation mark at the end of those words, then the program—as soon as you press Enter—assumes you are entering a new heading and applies a heading style to what you entered.

Here's how you can turn off that feature of Word:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and Word 2013 click the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Make sure that Proofing is selected at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Click the AutoCorrect Options button. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box.
  4. Make sure the AutoFormat As You Type tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The AutoFormat As You Type tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  6. Clear the Built-in Heading Styles check box.
  7. Click on 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 (1118) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013.

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

Saving in Two Locations

When you save a workbook to disk, you may want to automatically save a duplicate workbook in a separate location. This ...

Discover More

Discovering Printer Drift

How accurate is your printer when it comes to placing information on the printed page? The simple technique described in ...

Discover More

Understanding Font Styles

Fonts, by default, come with one or more styles that define variations of how that font is displayed in your document. ...

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 (ribbon)

Automatically Using Smart Quotes

As a way to make your documents look more professional, Word can utilize "smart quotes" for both quote marks and ...

Discover More

AutoFormat Won't Convert a Right Arrow

Word can automatically convert different sequences of text characters into single-character symbols. It might appear that ...

Discover More

Controlling Automatic Indenting

Type a tab character and you might just find that Word adjusts the indentation of the entire paragraph. If you don't like ...

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 6 - 4?

2019-03-06 12:07:25

Jonathan Warshay

The Built-in Heading Styles checkbox is not checked but the behavior still persisted, so I found this solution:

Press Alt+Ctrl+Shift+S to open the Styles pane.
Right-click on Normal and choose Modify.
In the Modify Style dialog, there was "Style for following paragraph" which contained the value "Heading 3."
Change the value to "Normal."

(see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. Modify Style dialog box


2015-06-06 14:49:58

Arlene Grabowski

Wow, such a simple fix to such a frustrating issue. I wondered if it wasn't one of those well-intentioned helpful formatting codes from our friends at MS, so there we have it. I just didn't know how to describe it in a few words! Allen, you're a lifesaver, and we're all so fortunate to have your very helpful and informative newsletters. Thanks so much and enjoy that vacation. You earn it every day.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu 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.