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

Read-Only Files

Read-only documents (those that cannot be updated) are part and parcel of working with Word. There are many ways that a ...

Discover More

Removing Hidden Personal Information From a Document

Word maintains a few pieces of personal information with each document file you save. Getting rid of this information can ...

Discover More

How Operators are Evaluated

Operators are used in formulas to instruct Excel what to do to arrive at a result. Not all operators are evaluated in the ...

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)

Controlling URL Formatting

When you type a URL into a document, Word helpfully converts it to a live hyperlink. If you don't want Word to be quite ...

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}] 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 five more than 5?

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.