How to disable automatic formatting options in Microsoft Word 

When you only a basic text editor with a powerful spell checker and minimal auto correct functionalities, you can simply disable automatic formatting on Word, and this guide I'll show you how to do it.

Auto format in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is perhaps one of the most used word processing applications in the world. It comes packed with a lot of features and shortcuts to make users more productive to get their work done quickly. 

Among the vast amount of features, Word includes the ability to automatically format and correct many aspects of the text we write on a document. However, depending on the type of work you do, auto formatting or correcting can do more bad than good. 

Sometimes, when you’re writing a document that you will publish on the web using a content management system, such as WordPress, or when you only need basic writing features, something like Notepad might just be all you need. However, you still need a spell checker and some form of auto correct functionality, and for these situations, you can customize AutoCorrect Options in Microsoft Word to only automate certain tasks. 

In this Office guide, I’ll walk you through the steps to turn off the AutoCorrect Options to prevent Word from automatically formatting your document. 

How to open Word’s AutoCorrect options 

Depending on the version of Word you’re using getting to the AutoCorrect Options page can be a little different, but in Office 2016, you can access the options using the following instructions: 

  1. Create a new blank document in Word. 

  2. Click File

  3. Click Options

  4. In Word Options, click Proofing from the left pane. 

  5. In Proofing, click the AutoCorrect Options button on the right side. 

    Word Proofing options

How to disable AutoCorrect options in Word 

AutoCorrect options in Word come enabled by default to deal with double capitalization, automatically capitalization of the first letter of a sentence, name of days, and accidental usage of the caps lock key. 

While in the AutoCorrect Options settings page, click the AutoCorrect tab, and clear the check box to disable the options you don’t need.

In AutoCorrect tab, you’ll also notice the settings to replace text as you type. The list shows the most common mistakes and how Word replaces them. You can modify the list by adding or removing replacements, or you can disable the feature completely by clearing the check box on “Replace text as you type”

AutoCorrect Word options

How to disable Math AutoCorrect options in Word 

You also have settings to allow Word to correct math rules. You can change these settings by clicking the Math AutoCorrect tab. 

Similar to replace text as you type for normal writing, you can do the same for math rules. On the Math AutoCorrect tab clear the check box to disable the options you don’t need.

Math AutoCorrect Word options

How to disable AutoFormat As You Type options in Word 

AutoFormat when typing is a great feature within Word, but as I described earlier, there are times when you need to keep basic formatting as you would using Notepad. 

When you don’t need to use smart quotations, replace fractions with fractions characters, hyphens with dash, only paste hyperlinks as text, or automatic bulleted or numbered lists, you can disable these and other features under the AutoFormat As you Type tab on the AutoCorrect settings by clearing the check box on the options you don’t need.

AutoFormat As You Type Word options

How to disable AutoFormat options in Word 

In the same fashion, you can click the AutoFormat tab to configure the options to automatically format your text. On the AutoFormat tab, clear the check box on the options you don’t want to use.

AutoFormat Word options

How to disable Actions options in Word 

Finally, you can click the Actions tab on AutoCorrect to enable or disable a number of different actions you can do when selecting certain words or phrases in your documents and choosing Additional Actions.

Actions Word options

When you’re done configuring the options that fit your needs don’t forget to click the OK button to save and exit the AutoCorrect Options. 

Although, Microsoft does a great job correcting and formatting text on a document, sometimes the features that come enabled by default are more than what we need, and on this guide you’ve learned to disable many of the auto formatting and correcting options in Word 2016.

Keep in mind that the instructions should also work for previous version, including Word 2013, Word 2010, and Word 2007.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].