Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Small Red Dots under Addresses.

Small Red Dots under Addresses

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 29, 2017)


Barbara notes that when she addresses an envelope in Word 2007 she usually chooses the "add to document" option, as she normally has other changes to make. When she does so, she notes that Word adds little red dots under the address line for the street address. These aren't the red wavy lines used to indicate a spelling error, nor are they the green wavy lines indicating a grammatical error—they are little red dots. Barbara has tried everything she can think of to find out what they are and how to remove them.

The little red dots (actually Microsoft says they're purple) are called Smart Tags. You can hover the mouse pointer over them and a Smart Tag indicator (a small circle with a informational "i" within it) will appear to the side of the underlined text. The box lists options you can choose depending on the type of Smart Tag triggered.

The appearance of Smart Tags depends entirely on the type of information you routinely use in your document. While addresses can trigger the appearance of a smart tag, so can other bits of information, such as stock symbols. Some people may never see a Smart Tag appear simply because they don't use documents that contain information that trigger the Smart Tags.

There is no doubt that the appearance of the Smart Tag dots can be distracting. Fortunately, Word provides a way that you can either turn off the Smart Tag capability completely or at least hide the Smart Tag underlines.

To hide the display of the Smart Tags, follow these steps in Word 2007:

  1. Click the Office button and then click Word Options. Word displays the Word Options dialog box.
  2. Click Advanced at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Scroll through the options until you see the Show Document Content section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The advanced options in the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Clear the Show Smart Tabs check box.
  6. Click on OK.

If you want to turn off Smart Tags all together (so that they aren't even recognized by Word), then follow these steps:

  1. Click the Office button and then click Word Options. Word displays the Word Options dialog box.
  2. Click the Proofing option at the left of the dialog box.
  3. Click the AutoCorrect Options button. Word displays the AutoCorrect Options dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Smart Tags tab is displayed. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The Smart Tags tab of the AutoCorrect Options dialog box.

  6. Clear the Label Text with Smart Tags check box.
  7. Clear the Show Smart Tag Action Buttons check box.
  8. Click OK.

Smart Tags were discontinued in Word 2010, so the above steps won't work in that version.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5970) applies to Microsoft Word 2007. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Small Red Dots under Addresses.

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. ...


Specifying Print Quantity in a Cell

When you print a worksheet, you can specify in the Print dialog box how many copies you want printed. If you want the ...

Discover More

Added Spaces when Dragging and Dropping Paragraphs

When using Word's editing tools, you may notice some extraneous spaces left where you don't want them. This tip addresses ...

Discover More

Connecting to an External Screen

Got a second monitor or projector you want to use with your Windows system? Here's how easy it is to take advantage of ...

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)

Hiding Smart Tags

If you don't want to see Smart Tags displayed in your document, you can instruct Word to hide them. Here's how to make ...

Discover More

Stopping Smart Tags from Being Saved

Don't want Smart Tag information saved with your document? It's easy to make sure that Word doesn't save it, as described ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


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 2 - 1?

2019-03-05 04:26:47


It's difficult to test a theory without having a sample of the actual data, but pasting into Notepad first and then re-selecting, copying and pasting into excel seems to work for all the tests I have tried.

2019-03-04 12:59:56


It literally cannot "be text" unless it uses a number set (what we realize are numerals) outside the normal keyboard characters. Else that, when any other program in the world looks at it, it is free to choose how to deal with the numerals.

So it must be CONVINCING Excel to treat them as text which implies it is ouputting them as Excel formatted material with "text" for the number format. That would convince Excel to handle them as text.

The reason Excel protections don't have a chance of working if one wishes to not have them work is that any other program can simply ignore the Excel formatting that protects things in their various ways. Formula is hidden? Well, our spreadsheet simply ignore s that and your formula is there for the world to see. Etc.

Since Excel is being convinced to treat it as text, one only really has to overcome that convincing. Open the material, as with the macro included here, and write it to the data section of the spreadsheet and that's all that you need. Slightly more complicated would be the multiple data items per cell, but John (Asker) did not mention any difficulties like that. (Admittedly, that could have been to avoid material for solving that if he is already very familiar with how to do so. But it is equally possible that what he really meant was the machine does that and by intentionally mis-describing the situation, he might get a solution that avoided having to do all the things he's very familiar with. Strategy...)

But again, if as described, the output must be Excel formatted and therefore straightforward to solve with the macro approach due to there not really being any other possibilities.

One wishes one could say the machine manufacturer that was visionary enough to set it up would neither have been so obtuse afterwards to force only text formatting of the output and so there must be a setting that can be found that formats the output as numbers instead, nor mendacious enough to set it up so it could only be text because he was simply ticking a feature box, not understanding what the feature needed, and didn't care past the tick mark. Sadly, either is possible.

But John (Asker) should look at the material available about his machine, any manuals he has or on the internet or even with the manufacturer though one suspects that last is not available (if not the original purchaser of a machine, manufacturers tend to regard you as a thief (you stole a NEW machine sale from them by buying a used machine is the idea) instead of a new revenue source, and he likely would find the setting that corrects the output to be formatted as numbers. That would beat an Excel fix.

The other things presented above are nice background but only the machine presenting Excel-formatted and Excel-convention-named material is really possible here.

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

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.