Turning Off the Automatic Help that Word Offers

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 25, 2020)

As David types, Word pops up what he considers as efficiency-destroying and very unhelpful help menus in the middle of his work. If he's editing, he knows there are temporary spelling errors, etc. He doesn't want Word to tell him as he is typing. David wonders how to turn off all this help that Word wants to provide so he can simply focus on his writing.

Word provides lots of what Microsoft considers "helpful" tools that are actively running whenever you are using the program. How much these tools intrude in your work can be controlled by using the Word Options dialog box. How you display the dialog box depends on the version of Word you are using:

  • If you are using Word 2007, click the Office button and then click Word Options.
  • If you are using Word 2010 or a later version, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options. (See Figure 1.)
  • Figure 1. The General tab of the Word Options dialog box.

Note that each tab on in the dialog box can contain settings that control what you might consider intrusive tools. For instance, on the General tab of the dialog box, near the top, there is a Show Mini Toolbar on Selection option. You'll probably want to turn this off, as with it on, Word displays a, well, "mini toolbar" near whatever you have selected in your document.

Similar settings are available on other tabs. I suspect, for instance, that since you mentioned how Word notifies you about spelling errors that you'll want to display the Proofing tab of the dialog box. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The Proofing tab of the Word Options dialog box.

At a minimum on this tab you'll want to clear the checkbox next to two options: Check Spelling As You Type and Mark Grammar Errors As You Type.

Any of these changes you make are made immediately upon closing the Word Options dialog box. You will, again, want to carefully consider all of the options available on all tabs of the Word Options dialog box. Doing so will allow you to make sure that Word behaves as you want it to behave, without surprises or interruptions.

If you are using Word on a device that relies on a software keyboard (such as a touch-screen computer or tablet), then there is one other place you'll want to make some changes. This time, however, the changes are within Windows 10, not within Word itself. Follow these steps:

  1. In the Search box at the bottom-left of the screen, type "bluetooth and other" and press Enter. Windows should display the Bluetooth & Other Devices area of the Settings dialog box.
  2. At the left side of the screen click Typing. (See Figure 3.)
  3. Figure 3. The Settings dialog box.

  4. Turn off the controls at the top of the dialog box, under both the Spelling and Typing areas. These control what pops up as "help" as you are typing with a software keyboard.
  5. Close the Settings dialog box.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13729) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

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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