How to Replace Special Characters in Word 2007 Using AutoFormat - dummies

How to Replace Special Characters in Word 2007 Using AutoFormat

By Dan Gookin

The AutoFormat feature in Word 2007 applies automatic formatting to special characters as you type, including smart quotes, fractions, hyperlinks, ordinals, and em dashes. You can choose which characters you want to be automatically formatted by selecting them in the AutoCorrect dialog box.

Smart quotes

The quote characters on the keyboard are tick marks: ” and ‘. AutoFormat converts them into more stylish open and closed curly quotes. Type hither: She said, “Take off my dress! And don’t you ever let me catch you wearing my clothes again!”

AutoFormat converts both the single and double quotes to curly quotes.


Real fractions

You can format a fraction by typing the first value in superscript, and then the slash, and then the second value in subscript. Or, you can let AutoFormat do it for you. Type the following: I spend twice the time doing 1/2 the work.

The 1/2 is converted into the single character ½. This trick works for some, but not all, common fractions.


Word can underline and activate hyperlinks typed in your document. For example, if you type I’ve been to and back, AutoFormat converts to an active hyperlink.


You’re guessing wrong if you think that ordinals are a baseball team or a group of religious leaders. They’re numbers with st, nd, or rd after them, as this example demonstrates: I came in 1st and Blake came in 3rd.

Word automatically superscripts the ordinals, making them look oh-so-spiffy.

Em dashes

An em dash is the official typesetting term for a long dash, longer than the hyphen (or its evil twin, the en dash). Most people type two hyphens to emulate the em dash. Word fixes that. For example, type Bart’s first stage appearance was a triumph — except for the zipper incident.

As you type the — (dash-dash), you’ll notice that AutoFormat replaces it with the official em dash character.