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 Office 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. ...

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