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: Controlling URL Formatting.

Controlling URL Formatting

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 8, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


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, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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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