After Pressing Enter, Text Becomes a Heading

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 12, 2021)

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 later versions, 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, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

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

When Replace Doesn't Work

Find and Replace is a great tool, but what are you to do if your find or replace doesn't work as you expect? This tip ...

Discover More

Formatting for Hundredths of Seconds

When you display a time in a cell, Excel normally displays just the hours, minutes, and seconds. If you want to display ...

Discover More

Using the XIRR Function

One of the financial worksheet functions provided in Excel is the XIRR function. This is used to figure out an internal ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

The Line that Won't Go Away

Have you ever had a line appear on your document that you can't seem to get rid of? It could be due to a built-in ...

Discover More

Smart Quotes in AutoCorrect Entries

Smart quotes can add a finishing touch to your text. You might expect that when AutoCorrect is used to add text, it would ...

Discover More

AutoFormatting a Document

The AutoFormat feature of Word can be configured to make changes to a variety of conditions in your document. Here's how ...

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 seven less than 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.

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.