UPDATE 08/28/2007

  • Thanks to Jim for helping complete the turning off of “Show Markup.”

Here’s my list of things to turn off.  Man, they are annoying.  Enjoy.

Style_autoformat1. Creating New Styles for Every Format Change

Someone at Microsoft thought it would be helpful to create a feature called “Keep track of formatting” that would create and modify styles as you edited your Word document. A style named “Heading 1” would be recreated and named “Heading 1 + 11 pt” once you modified the font size of some text already under the “Heading 1” style.

As text is changed, more and more styles are created by Word until your Styles and Formatting pane looks like the thing to the right.

Tools > Options > Edit tab > uncheck “Keep track of formatting”


2. Opening Docs in Reading Layout

This feature hides all toolbars and puts two pages side-by-side on your screen, and is the new default layout when you open docs from Outlook.  This annoying feature must be turned off!

Tools > Options > General tab > uncheck “Allow starting in Reading Layout.”


3. AutoFormatting

Some of Microsoft Word’s auto formatting is helpful, but there are four particular formats that are not.

  • Replacing regular quotation marks with “smart quotes”
  • Replacing ordinals (1st) with superscript
  • Replacing fractions with a fraction character (1/2)
  • Replacing hyphens with dashes (-)

While using Microsoft Word, the auto formatting happens while you type. Most people don’t even notice it. The problem is that when you cut-n-paste some text from Microsoft Word into a plain text editor such as a message board or weblog entry form, the text editors do not recognize Word’s formatted version of these characters.

Depending on the type of text editor you’re using, a pair of quotation marks could end up giving you characters like �. This is a real example. Microsoft Word’s auto formatting should be left inside Word, but even then, it’s not that helpful.

Tools > AutoCorrect Options > AutoFormat As You Type tab > uncheck the appropriate checkboxes.


Paste_widget_5 4. Paste Options widget

When you paste into Word, a little control pops up to give you paste options.  And it stays in your way!

Tools > Options > Edit Tab > deselect “Show Paste Options button”


5. Show inserted fields as shaded ALWAYS

When you insert a field into a document, it is nice to be able to see it as different from surrounding text.

Tools > Options > View TAB > change Field Shading dropdown to “Always”


6. Change Default for “Show Markup” Box

When Word opens up a document, the default setting for the “Show Markup Box” is “Final Showing Markup”, which means you always start in a view which shows you all of the tracked changes.  We want the default to be “Final.”

NOTE: IF CHANGE TRACKING IS TURNED ON FOR A DOCUMENT, IT WILL ALWAYS OPEN SHOWING MARKUP NO MATTER WHAT.  This solution will only work for documents for which change tracking is turned OFF.

Tools > Options > Security Tab > deselect “Make hidden markup visible when opening or saving”


HOWEVER, this alone may not do it for existing documents. For individual documents that persist in coming up with the markup showing, follow these steps:

  1. Turn on Tracking
  2. Change the View setting to Final.
  3. Turn off Tracking.
  4. Save.

The document reopens showing the Final without markup.

7. Turning Off Personalized Menus


The default setting for MS Word is to only show you partial menus initially, and if you click the double arrow or wait a few seconds, it then reveals the rest of the menu.  This is helpful if you only use a few menu items regularly (it shows the most used), but if you use many, it’s just an annoyance, fit to be turned off.


Tools > Customize > Options Tab > select “Always show full menus”