Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Unwiring Word

Microsoft Word has an Internet addiction. If I copy online text containing a link into a Word document, it automatically makes the link active. I never want active links in my Word documents, though, so I have to gingerly find and deactivate the hyperlink. (Why "gingerly"? Because accidently clicking on the unwanted link will activate it, forcing my browser to fire up and, sometimes, Word to freeze.) I have not found a way to turn off this ridiculous "feature" yet, alas.

It gets worse. I like to hand-code my HTML. When I open my HTML documents in Word, it insists on pretending it is a browser and displays them in a very rough approximation of what you might see online. I cannot figure out how to disable that "feature" either, but it at least only annoys me. Here's the really infuriating bit: When I toggle the document to display the HTML source, I discover that Word has replaced my lean and elegant coding with ugly, unnecessary, and inscrutable garbage! And I cannot get rid off it! Instead, I have to open the page in a browser, view the source, copy, and paste that into Word.

I welcome any advice about how to unwire Word. I happen to use Microsoft Word X for Service Release 1. I'll bet, though, that I could learn from a fix developed for other versions.


Joel Bernstein said...

1. Tools -> AutoCorrect -> AutoFormat As You Type tab -> Replace as you type -> Internet and network paths with hyperlinks.

The autocorrect dialog is the home of most automatic annoying behavior in Word.

2. Don't use Word for editing code; use TextPad or some equivalent.

lizriz said...

That is the single most annoying thing Word does, and yeah, you can turn it off, but why, why, why does it do that in the first place? I just don't need uber, multiple functionality from everything in my life!

Tom W. Bell said...

Thanks, Joel, but that won't suffice. I'm trying to keep pasted-in links from becoming active, whereas the option you describe (apparently) only controls whether a typed-in link becomes active.

Yeah, I could use TextPad, but I like the search and replace feature in Word. TP--or at least the last version of it I used--didn't offer that.

Lizriz: I suppose because Microsoft thought the 'net was going to eat its lunch, and saw the proper response as weaving such features into its apps--sort of a "keep your enemies close" strategy.

Amy Phillips said...

You want the AutoFormat tab, not the AutoFormat As You Type tab. There, you should be able to uncheck "Internet and network paths with hyperlinks" and get it to stop activating links for text you paste. I just tested it, and it appears to work.

Tom W. Bell said...

Thankis, Amy, but even that doesn't do what I want. Maybe your program behaves differentlt, but mine still makes active links I copy from a website and paste into Word.

Blog Jones said...

Instead of just hitting paste, go to Edit - Paste Special and select Unformatted Text. Then it will paste only the text: No formatting, no links, and no pictures.

Or, if you're using FireFox, you can install the "Copy Plain Text" FireFox extension, which will add "Copy Plain Text" to the right-click menu.

Bill Poser said...

That is really annoying. Why use MS Word? I do most of my writing in emacs and never have problems like this. writer works nicely on the rare occasions that I want a WYSIAYG word processor.