Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. 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: Controlling URL Formatting.

Controlling URL Formatting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 14, 2020)


It is no surprise that Word provides support for the Internet. One aspect of this support is the ability for Word to recognize URL addresses in your document and make them active. For instance, if you type a URL, Word automatically converts it to a field code. When you later click on the address, your Web browser is started, and you can visit the Web page represented by the URL.

This feature is turned on by default in Word, but some people find it just plain annoying. This is especially true if you are working with a document that has many, many URLs in it. If you want to turn off this feature, there are two routes you can follow. The first involves these steps:

  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 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. At the bottom of the Replace As You Type section, make sure the Internet and Network Paths With Hyperlinks checkbox is cleared.

Don't close the dialog box quite yet. While you've instructed Word to not convert the URLs as you type, you may want to follow the second route, which changes how Word autoformats an entire document at a single pass. This feature of Word (AutoFormatting) is available by adding the command to the Quick Access Toolbar. Normally you would add and use the AutoFormat command if you routinely import a document either from another word processor or if you import a regular ASCII text file and you need to format it. To make sure that Word does not activate links when you use the AutoFormat command, continue with these steps:

  1. Click on the AutoFormat tab. (See Figure 2.)
  2. Figure 2. The AutoFormat tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  3. Near the middle of the dialog box, at the bottom of the Replace section, make sure the Internet and Network Paths With Hyperlinks checkbox is cleared.
  4. 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 (8875) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Controlling URL Formatting.

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 9 - 1?

2016-05-11 10:26:59


In the Manage References dialog box, you can insert optional breaks into the URL using Ctrl-Alt-[comma]. I add these after each slash, and the URL breaks in natural-looking places and does not start on the next line. The drawback is that then I can't make a hyperlink out of the URL once those invisible optional breaks are in there. If you are formatting for print only, however, that might be all right.

2016-02-13 10:21:43


Sheila, you can edit the “Text to display” to have spaces without affecting the underlying web address.
Once you have typed the correct URL (without spaces), right click on the hyperlink and select “Edit Hyperlink”. Then you can add spaces at various points in the “Text to display” field while leaving the “Address” field unbroken, thus / cgi / view content.cgi ? article = 1000 & context = carla spivack would still have the correct URL if you click on it.
If you do not want the spaces to be visible, simply change them to 1 point.

2015-10-01 02:27:37


hi. plz help me. im writing a book but i saw all of my hyperlink (web address) in the document change with a unknown code like this:
also this happened for my page numbers
but i dont know why?
thanx for ur answer

2014-06-20 11:45:53



Basically, Word moves the URL to its own line (not its own paragraph) because it considers the URL to be a single word. The only way around this (as you discovered) is to put a space in the middle of the URL. The side effect of that, however, is to make the URL "unclickable."

There is no easy way around the problem.


2014-06-20 08:52:18


Dear Allen,

Writing to you helped me to concentrate. I have figured out the problem and perhaps I misunderstood other explanations of it previously.

The problem lies in the way that word breaks up a URL to fit it into the line and paragraph format. It seems that if I artificially break it up I can then back space portions together and then I can also get rid of the paragraph indentation that occurs when Word identifies the URL as a new para. Sorry, I said before that it was not indented, but is was, actually.

Can't be easy reading these ramblings. sorry.
best regards,

Sheila N

2014-06-20 08:45:06


Dear Allen,
I have used your service in the past and thank you for providing it. I have, however, a persistent problem that no-one else seems to comment on.

My problem is that in formatting a bibliography that includes URLs I simply cannot eliminate the formation of a 'new paragraph' for every URL, despite every attempt to integrate it into the rest of the reference paragraph. For instance, in this sentence:

Spivack, Carla. The Woman is out: a new look at the law in Hamlet.

there is a huge space after Hamlet, where I would like the URL to start, but it starts on the next line. It does not even start as if it were a new paragraph because it would then have an indent, which it does not.

I have tried clearing the format with no success. I cannot imagine why anyone would want this function. It does not appear in most bibliographies in printed books, for instance, which is where this bibliography is destined.

Thanks in advance for any help you may be able to provide.

Sheila Newman

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