Get Word to Print Single-Character Fractions


Q. I type reports mostly in Times New Roman font and often use fractions. For example, when I type 1/2, Word converts it to 12 —a single-character fraction. But if I change fonts, the word processor doesn’t always convert the fraction I had typed as a single character. What’s going on here? Am I being shortchanged with my copy of Word?

A. No, you’re not being shortchanged; it’s a shortcoming—not so much in Word as in some of the fonts in your computer. But before going into that, let’s see how the single-character fraction works and how you can control it.

With a few keystrokes you can program Word to change a fraction into a single character or to leave it alone. To make your choice, click on Tools, AutoCorrect Options and AutoFormat As You Type , which brings up this screen:

Notice a box labeled Fractions (1/2) with fraction character ( 12 ) . If you check this box, Word replaces some fractions with a single-character version.

Why did I say some fractions? Because not all fonts have all single-character fractions, and some have more than others, which explains why, when you change fonts, some of your fractions don’t convert to a single character.

While you’re in the AutoCorrect section, consider what other defaults you want to change. One of the handiest is Hyphens (--) with dash (—) . With that box checked, every time you finish typing a word, typing two dashes and then another word, the short hyphens will be replaced by a full dash—like this.

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