Capitalizing after a Sentence Ending with a Number

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 4, 2016)


When Linda is typing sentences, Word automatically recognizes the start of a new sentence based upon typing sentence-ending punctuation, such as a period. Word then automatically capitalizes the first letter of the new sentence. This doesn't work, however, when the period follows a number, such as "...measures 4 x 3 x 2." In this case Word doesn't capitalize the first letter of the sentence following, but Linda would prefer that it did so. She wonders if there is some setting she is missing.

Word allows you to specify that the first letter of any new sentence should be capitalized. This setting is controlled on the AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box. To make sure the setting is turned on, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and Word 2013 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Proofing at the left side of the screen.
  3. Click the AutoCorrect Options button. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  5. Make sure the Capitalize First Letter of Sentences check box is selected.
  6. Click OK to close the AutoCorrect dialog box.
  7. Click OK to close the Word Options dialog box.

At this point, you should be able to type sentences, and Word makes sure that anything following a punctuation mark has the first letter capitalized. By default, this includes sentences that follow a sentence ending in a number. All the testing I was able to do indicates that this is true in Word 2007, Word 2010, and Word 2013. It is not true, however, in older versions of Word (2003 and before).

You might be tempted to believe that there are other controls in Word that affect this behavior. Again, I could not find any such controls in my testing. If Word isn't capitalizing after sentences ending in numbers on your system, then the only other thing to check is the AutoCorrect exceptions. With the AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box displayed (as earlier discussed), click the Exceptions button. Word displays the First Letter tab of the AutoCorrect Exceptions dialog box. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The First Letter tab of the AutoCorrect exceptions dialog box.

Look through the exceptions defined for your system and make sure that they make sense. Especially make sure there are no numeric entries in the list.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12648) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013.

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 5 + 9?

2016-05-04 14:36:57

Don Mattocks

She needs to update to Word 2016. Capitalization after a number works great.

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