Fraction Frenzy

Fraction Frenzy

Use a lot of fractions in MS Word?

Do you love how it turns 1/2 into ½?

Did you ever notice that it does this neat little trick with only the most common of fractions? I’m also sure that some of you have found access to a few additional choices through the Insert menu, Symbols choice, but I’d bet that you’re frustrated that neither of these work for the other fractions that plague your day.

If this describes your current fractional state of mind, then I have some info that just might help.

The first thing you should know is that you can format any fraction to “look right” using subscript and superscript text formatting.

And with frequently used fractions, you can put Word’s AutoCorrect feature to good use having it do the fraction “switch” automatically.

Here’s the scoop…

For the actual formatting, we’ll need to format the numbers as either superscript or subscript. If you’re thinking that you don’t use fractions very often and will simply change them manually each time, I suggest that you either add the buttons for this formatting to a toolbar (see Monday’s MS Office Tip for more info on adding buttons) or memorize these two key combinations:

Superscript formatting can be applied with Ctrl + Shift + = (also listed as Ctrl + + ).
Subscript formatting can be applied with Ctrl + =.

Now that we have the formalities out of the way, here’s the actual process to follow when formatting fractions in Word.

1. Type your fraction using the forward slash between the numerator (top) and the denominator (bottom). For example — 12/15

2. Highlight the numerator and apply superscript formatting.

3. Highlight the denominator and apply subscript formatting.

Voila! Fraction complete.

From 12/15 to this…

…with just a couple of quick formatting changes!

Now, if you’ve got some that are constantly used, you certainly don’t want to keep formatting this stuff over and over again.

Here’s where the AutoCorrect feature will come in handy. It may take you a few minutes to get them entered into the system, but once they’re there, you’ll get automatic replacements so your time investment will (pardon the pun) pay off “big time.”

Once you’ve formatted a fraction the way you want it, highlight the entire thing.

Now go to the Tools menu, AutoCorrect choice.

At the bottom of the AutoCorrect tab, you should see the Replace as you type list.

Notice that on the right, in the “with” field, your formatted fraction is already entered. If it doesn’t seem to be formatted correctly, then double check that the Formatted text option is selected just above.

On the left, in the Replace field, enter the plain text for the fraction that should be replaced with your formatted text.

Click the Add button.

Click OK to close the window.

Now I realize that you’re going to have to repeat this process for each fraction that you want added to the list but I do have one small time saver to offer.

When you return to your document, don’t delete the fraction you just worked with. Instead highlight the numerator and type the next number. Repeat the process with the denominator. This will replace the numbers without removing the super and subscript formatting allowing you to go right back to the AutoCorrect feature much faster.

And there you have it! Beautiful fractions at your fingertips!

~ April

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