Fractions converted to underscore characters in Word for Macintosh and in Excel for Macintosh

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Article ID: 193979 - View products that this article applies to.
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SYMPTOMS

In the Microsoft Word for Macintosh versions that are listed in the "Applies To" section, fractions, such as 1/2 or 1/4, that have a fraction character that is contained in the document are replaced with an underscore character when you open a Microsoft Word for Windows document. Similar behavior can also be seen in Microsoft Excel for Macintosh.

CAUSE

This issue occurs because some Microsoft Windows fonts contain common fractions. For example, some Windows fonts contain the common fractions 1/2, 1/4, and 3/4. Because these characters are available in some fonts, there is a feature in Microsoft Word for Windows, starting with the Microsoft Word 97 for Windows version, that automatically replaces regular text fractions into a fraction character. Also, some common fractions can be inserted as a symbol. On the Macintosh, fraction characters do not exist in the Macintosh fonts. Therefore, when you open the Word for Windows document in Word for Mac, the fraction character is changed to an underscore character. This issue no longer occurs in Word 2004 for Mac because it includes the special fraction characters.

WORKAROUND

NOTE: You cannot convert the underscore character back to a fraction on the Macintosh. However, if you leave the underscores as part of the document and then save the document, the original fractions are retained when you re-open the document in Word for Windows.

In order to display the fraction correctly on both the Windows and Macintosh platforms, the fractions must be created using the Equation Editor or by using an Equation (EQ) field rather than using the fraction characters on the Windows platform.

Method 1: Use an Equation (EQ) Field

To insert a fraction as an equation field, follow these steps:
  1. On the Insert menu, click Field.
  2. In the Categories list, click to select Equations and Formulas.
  3. In the Field Names list, click to select Eq and then click Options.
  4. In the Switches list, select \F(,) and then click Add to Field.
  5. In the box with the EQ \F(,) text, type the numerator of the fraction in before the comma and the denominator for the fraction after the comma within the parenthesis.

    For example, for a fraction of 1/2, change the EQ \F(,) field to the following:
    EQ \F(1,2)
  6. Click OK to close the Field Options dialog box.
  7. Click OK to close the Field dialog box.
Your fraction field should be inserted into your document. If you do not see the fraction, but see {EQ \F(1,2)} instead, then press ALT+F9 (Windows) or OPTION+F9 (Macintosh) to turn the field codes off.

Method 2: Use Equation Editor

To insert the fraction using the Equation Editor, follow these steps:
  1. On the Insert menu, click Object.
  2. On the Create New tab, select Microsoft Equation 3.0 and then click OK.
  3. On the Equation toolbar, click Fraction and radical templates.

    NOTE: The Fraction and radical templates button should be the second button from the left on the bottom row of the Equation toolbar.
  4. Click the desired style for the fraction from the available choices.
  5. Type the numerator number, press DOWN ARROW and then type the denominator number to create the fraction.
  6. After you create the fraction, click in the document to close the Equation Editor.
If you do not see the fraction, but see {EMBED Equation.3} instead, then press ALT+F9 (Windows) or OPTION+F9 (Macintosh) to turn the field codes off.

MORE INFORMATION

To turn off (disable) the AutoFormat of text to fraction characters in Word 97 for Windows, follow these steps:
  1. On the Tools menu, click AutoCorrect.
  2. On the AutoFormat As You Type tab, click to clear the Fractions (1/2) with fraction character (1/2) check box.

    NOTE: You may also want to select the AutoFormat tab and clear the Fractions (1/2) with fraction character (1/2) check box.
With the Fractions (1/2) with fraction character (1/2) option turned off, fractions will not be replaced with the fraction character.

In Microsoft Windows, you may also have the ability to enter some other fractions (for example: 1/3, 2/3, 1/8, 3/8, 5/8, and 7/8) as a Symbol character. These fractions will also convert to the underscore character when the document is opened in Word 98 Macintosh Edition.

For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
185510 WD98: Fraction Not Replaced Automatically (No AutoFormat Option)

Properties

Article ID: 193979 - Last Review: January 23, 2007 - Revision: 3.1
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Word X for Mac
  • Microsoft Word 2001 for Mac
  • Microsoft Word 98 for Macintosh
  • Microsoft Excel X for Mac
  • Microsoft Excel 2001 for Mac
  • Microsoft Excel 98 for Macintosh
Keywords: 
kbfield kbprb KB193979
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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