Stopping E-mail Addresses from Being Initial Capped

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 25, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


William, in some of his documents, places quite a few e-mail addresses. Word invariably tries to make the initial letter of the addresses uppercase as he types them. William wonders if there is a way to stop Word from doing this conversion on e-mail addresses.

There is one thing to get out of the way right up front: In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter if Word makes the first letter of an e-mail address uppercase or not. Why? Because case doesn't matter when it comes to e-mail addresses. You can make any letters upper- or lowercase in an address, and it will still work just fine.

That being said, there are good reasons to make e-mail addresses lowercase. For instance, lowercase may be more aesthetically pleasing to you. Plus, if you are going to sort or compare e-mail addresses, then having them be the same case is beneficial.

When you enter an e-mail address in a document, Word should keep the initial letter lowercase, provided it is a simple e-mail address:

This address will remain just as you type it, with no change to the initial letter. However, if the address is a bit more complex, things aren't quite as clear-cut:

In this case, when you type the period, the J in the first letter position is made uppercase. Word only recognizes that it shouldn't uppercase the address if the first punctuation used is the @ symbol. If it is a space or a different punctuation mark—such as a period, an underscore, a dollar sign, a dash, etc.—then it will immediately uppercase the first letter.

There are two immediate ways you can get around this. First, immediately after you type the triggering punctuation mark (right after the letter is capitalized) you can press Ctrl+Z. This undoes the capitalization and you can continue typing away.

The second option is to recognize that Word is doing the capitalization because it believes you are starting to type a sentence. Thus, you can turn off this behavior in this manner:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Proofing at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Click the AutoCorrect Options button. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box.
  4. Make sure the AutoCorrect tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  6. Clear the Capitalize First Letter of Sentences check box.
  7. Click on OK.

Recognize, though, that if you turn off this feature, Word won't automatically capitalize the first letter of any actual sentences either—you'll have to do the capitalization manually. For most people this isn't a problem, but you need to be aware that the change affects more than just e-mail addresses.

If you inherit a document from someone else and you want to change the e-mail addresses to lowercase, the easiest way is to select the address (or select a number of addresses) and then press Shift+F3 multiple times until everything is lowercase.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (4809) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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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What is 8 + 4?

2023-11-25 16:20:27

Phil Maier

One could write a macro to scan the whole document, identify each email address and force it to lower case. You could then manually fire off the macro whenever you want to or include it in the AutoClose macro so that you don't have to worry about it thereafter. Unfortunately I do not have the time to write this macro. Maybe the identifying of email addresses is not that straight forward.

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