Word in Office XP - autoformat is erratic
Thread poster: Matthew Butt

Matthew Butt
Local time: 20:18
French to English
+ ...
Mar 4, 2009

Over the past week and a bit, I have noticed some erratic behaviour with Word 2002 (incorporated into Office XP). I like to have quotation marks changed to "smart" quotes, and hyphens changed to en dashes. It has always worked fine until just recently. Now I find that the autoformat will sometimes work correctly, and sometimes not - even within a single sentence. If I highlight the offending quotation marks and re-type over them, the smart quotes appear.

I've tried disabling and re-enabling the autoformat feature, but without success. Unfortunately, I cannot tell whether the problem started with a Microsoft update or with a new version of Wordfast.

Am I alone in experiencing this problem? Does anyone have any ideas what would resolve it for me? (The problem started on my old machine just before I replaced it last week, and I've installed everything from scatch on the new machine, so I know it's not a hardware configuration problem).

Thanks in advance,


Edit: I think I've noticed a pattern. Autoformat seems to change the first quotation mark or apostrophe it encounters , but no subsequent ones. If I'm using Wordfast, this resets when I move to the next TU.

[Edited at 2009-03-04 10:14 GMT]


Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:18
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
You are not alone... Mar 4, 2009

and also Word 2003 behaves sometimes like this.
I do not know any reasons, so I've simply learned to live with this.
However, this erratic behaviour can be IMO observed mostly with customer documents, which are nearly always badly formatted. When I start to write on my own, this behaviour is better.
OTOH, I switched nearly all autoformatting off, leaving just numbered and buletted lists and quotation marks there. All other functions were not a help but more an obstacle for me.

Best regards


Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:18
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Lucida Console in & out quotes can be inserted as symbols Mar 4, 2009

After reading this, I tried some experimenting in Word. Opening and closing quotation marks, as opposed to straight ones, are not available in the more common fonts such as Times New Roman and Arial, but they are present in Lucida Console. They can be set up as shortcut keys and inserted that way where you want them into text in any font. Would this help?

[Edited at 2009-03-04 11:05 GMT]


esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:18
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Turn off autocorrect, Mar 4, 2009

and use llya Birman’s typographic keyboard layout to get quotation marks and required dashes.


Matthew Butt
Local time: 20:18
French to English
+ ...
Thanks for the input so far Mar 4, 2009

Thanks for all your suggestions. There are certainly a number of work-arounds available. They're just more time-consuming than if the wretched thing would work properly - as it has done for five years!


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Word in Office XP - autoformat is erratic

Advanced search

SDL MultiTerm 2019
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2019 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2019 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2019 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2019 has evolved to bring translators a brand new experience. Designed with user experience at its core, Studio 2019 transforms how new users get up and running and helps experienced users make the most of the powerful features.

More info »

  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search