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: AutoFormatting a Document.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 3, 2021)
Word includes a feature that formats what you type, as you type it. You probably take many of these automatic formatting (AutoFormat) adjustments for granted. Word does things like changing your quotes to Smart Quotes, automatically creating bulleted and numbered lists, and changing the indentation of paragraphs.
This is fine and good for many people, but what if you get a document from someone else and it needs a lot of the "little touches" applied to it? This is where the real industrial-strength AutoFormat feature of Word comes into play. You see, AutoFormat doesn't just work as you type—it is also available, on demand, to format an entire document.
In default installations of Word, the AutoFormat tool is not available on any of the ribbon tabs. Instead you'll need to add it to the Quick Access Toolbar by following these steps:
Once you have the AutoFormat tool available on the Quick Access Toolbar, you can apply AutoFormat by following these steps:
Figure 1. The AutoFormat dialog box.
At this point, AutoFormat works its magic and your document is "reformatted" to appear as it would have if you had typed it yourself.
You should understand that it is very unlikely that AutoFormat will do all the formatting you need done. Each document is different, and you should make sure you examine the document after AutoFormat is completed to see if there are any other formatting tasks you need to complete.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12976) 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: AutoFormatting a Document.
Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!
Word can automatically convert different sequences of text characters into single-character symbols. It might appear that ...Discover More
The AutoFormat feature of Word can be configured to make changes to a variety of conditions in your document. Here's how ...Discover More
As a way to make your documents look more professional, Word can utilize "smart quotes" for both quote marks and ...Discover More
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.
Visit the WordTips channel on YouTube