Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Getting Rid of Blue Squiggly Underlines.

Getting Rid of Blue Squiggly Underlines

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 7, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Ivan noted that on his PC the text he writes is frequently "marred" by squiggly underlines in blue. Right-clicking gives him options of Ignore Once, Ignore Rule, or Replace Direct Formatting with Style Normal. Ivan wants to turn off the blue squiggly underlines and is wondering how to do it.

Word likes squiggly underlines and has used them differently in different versions of Word. The most common squiggly underline is red, which marks a potential spelling error. In some versions of Word you'll see green squiggly underlines, which indicate a potential grammar error. The blue squiggly underlines were originally used to mark formatting inconsistencies, which is why Ivan saw the options he noted—particularly "Replace Direct Formatting with Style Normal"—when he right-clicked the blue-squiggly-underlined word or phrase.

You can turn off this marking of formatting inconsistencies by making a configuration change in 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 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The advanced options of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. In the Editing Options section, clear the Mark Formatting Inconsistencies check box.
  5. Click OK.

In some versions of Word, though, blue squiggly underlines are also used to mark grammar errors. (Yes, Microsoft has changed this—in some versions it was green, in some versions blue. Go figure!). If you turn off the setting noted above and you still have blue squiggly underlines, then follow these steps:

  1. Again display the Word Options dialog box, just as you did a moment ago.
  2. At the left side of the dialog box click Proofing. (See Figure 2.)
  3. Figure 2. The proofing options of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Mark Grammar Errors As You Type check box is cleared.
  5. Click on OK.

That should do it; your blue squiggly underlines should be gone.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6053) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Getting Rid of Blue Squiggly Underlines.

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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