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Word's AutoFormat feature has the ability to apply styles in formatted or partially formatted documents. It does this by guessing based on text length and other factors what the structure of the document is. We're going to apply auto- formatting in two different documents. First, let's look at a document which has absolutely no formatting. I'm going to pull down the Format menu and choose AutoFormat. Now in this dialog, you have a few options.
First, you can either auto format the entire document at once or you can review each change Word makes. We'll leave this set to AutoFormat now. We can always undo the changes afterwards if we don't like them. Next, we need to tell Word the kind of document we're working with. This is a General document, but we could also select Letter or Email. Clicking the Options button displays AutoFormat options, which you can toggle to determine what kinds of changes are made.
The Apply area applies styles. The Replace area replaces various characters or character combinations with other characters or applies formatting. If your document will be printed, you might want to turn off the Internet paths with hyperlinks option, that's this one here which is already turned off, to avoid text turning blue with underlines. This is one of my pet peeves about Word formatting. The Preserve area down here tells Word to preserve any styles you might have applied.
So when you finish setting options in here, click OK to save them. Now click OK in the AutoFormat dialog. Quick as a wink, Word formats the document. Let's see how it did. Now if you notice up here on the top, it didn't recognize that these were titles or subtitles or anything like that that. That doesn't really surprise me because it really had no formatting, but down in here you could see that it recognized that these were headings. I guess short paragraphs of only a few words are considered headings. So it applied heading styles to these, but it only applied one level of heading.
So that's this particular document. It didn't do bad, but it certainly didn't do perfect. We'll go through the same process for another document. I'll close this, I won't save settings, and then I've got this document here. This uses some direct formatting to indicate different heading levels. For example, this is bold and this is underlined. This is supposed to be the top level heading and this is the next level. We'll see what Word does with this. It also uses old-fashioned bullets. If you scroll down here, you can see them.
These are the letter O that could be filled in with ink after the document was printed. I distinctly remember doing this in my typewriter days. So with that in mind, let's pull down the Format menu and choose AutoFormat. We'll leave this set the same way, AutoFormat now, General document, we'll leave the options alone and we'll click OK. Now, Word did a lot better this time. It recognized the two different heading levels. Heading level 1 and heading level 2.
It also formatted that bulleted list. If you look down here, you'll see that the bullets appear. This is a regular bulleted list. It didn't notice that these were titles on the top, so it didn't make any changes up here, but we really can't expect it to get everything right. So what do you think? Is this something you'll use? I'm a hands-on person and I prefer to do my formatting the old-fashioned way by applying styles manually, but if you get good results with the AutoFormat feature and it saves you time, use it.
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