Autoformat Must Die

Long before I was a copyeditor, I learned to make Word do my bidding while writing poetry. Have you noticed that Word lives in the time of Tennyson and likes to capitalize every new line of poetry? I did.

And so I went on a rampage. I unchecked boxes like nobody’s business, and still Word thought I was Wordsworth. Every line of poetry was capitalized. Flattering, Word, but you’re still a pain in the ass. In poetry workshops, the one being workshopped usually is silent. One day we were debating the capitalization of a line and how it changed the meaning of a poem, until finally the workshoppee spoke up (which never ever happened). “Guys, sorry to interrupt, but that was a typo. Word capitalized the line.” Oh. We all laughed.

Finally I figured out you have to uncheck every bloody thing to keep Word from reformatting your prose. Want to keep Word from writing your manuscripts for you? Go to Tools, click on Autocorrect, and then get to Options. (You can also get to the box by clicking on Preferences and then Autocorrect.) Unclick EVERYTHING under “Autoformat when you type,” “Autocorrect,” and “Autotext”. Get rid of “Smart” tags. We are all a lot smarter than Word thinks we are.

My favorite thing about Word? Sometimes when I forget to turn off all those little buttons, I have a new document where I type out the newest revision to my manuscript, which is largely about losing my mother and my father, and if I type the word “Dear” it comes up as “Dear Mom and Dad”. Fuck you, Word, fuck you very much.

And for your amusement (really, click on this, it is fall-down funny, in my humble opinion; skip to 2.41 minutes if you are short on time): Clippy Must Die



11 responses to “Autoformat Must Die

    • Ah, Averil, haven’t I told you I go both ways? 😉 I have Parallels on my Mac for my editing career.

      My favorite is either “Is that a business grave or a personal grave?” or “Is that a suicide note? I can help with that!”

  1. Love, love, love.
    I have to do the same thing to my phone, but I can’t undo it’s embarrassing stutter. It is near impossible for me to type more than two sentences without double letters running rampant.
    Now what do you have that corrects overuse of dialogue. My Mac seems to think I am writing a screenplay…

  2. my quibble is with all of office 2010. If you drag a window around, and hold your mouse down just a micro-second too long, it presumes you want to maximize the window. So, with the delicate side-by-siding of, on the right, The Manuscript, and on the left, The Source, and they should be there for my eyes to go back and forth on. Instead they pop up and conceal their neighbour. Feels like the gingham dog and the calico cat. Haven’t looked for a fix yet. I just curse.

  3. Oh my god that was so funny.

    It looks like you’re trying to write a novel…be honest and save you a year of your life….

    *drops head to desk*

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