Blue wavy lines that appear under text indicate Format Consistency Checker is working in Word

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SUMMARY

This article describes a new feature in Microsoft Word called the Format Consistency Checker. The article tells you how to turn the Format Consistency Checker on and off, and describes the rules by which the Format Consistency Checker evaluates formatting.

Wavy blue lines that appear under text in a Word document indicate that the Format Consistency Checker is turned on and is functioning in the background as you type. The lines indicate that the Format Consistency Checker has detected an inconsistency that you may want to look at and to correct.

MORE INFORMATION

The Format Consistency Checker allows you to check for and correct most common formatting problems. While you type, the Format Consistency Checker can make automatic changes to the document format with the AutoFormat command. It can check and mark possible format inconsistencies in the background as you type.

In Microsoft Office Word 2003 or in Microsoft Word 2002 you can also run the Format Consistency Checker by clicking Spelling and Grammar on the Tools menu.

In Microsoft Office Word 2007, you can run the Format Consistency Checker by clicking Spelling & Grammar in the Proofing group on the Review tab.

Rules that the Format Consistency Checker uses

The Format Consistency Checker can check for unintentional inconsistencies in text and paragraph formatting, according to specific formatting rules. The rules that the Format Consistency Checker uses to identify a possibly unintentional format are as follows.

Rule 1: Consolidate similar direct formatting schemes

This rule identifies different formatting schemes that are very similar to each other. The Format Consistency Checker scans a document looking for similar formatting schemes. If the Format Consistency Checker finds at least two instances of a scheme that are identical, it offers you the opportunity to make all similar formatting schemes identical to the format scheme that occurs most frequently. The criteria that Word uses to search for similar schemes are as follows:
  • The font size variance must be 10% or less.
  • The font color red, green, and blue mixture must be the same except for the last digit of a custom color.
  • The Format Consistency Checker checks for any difference in font kerning.
  • Indentation differences must be less than or equal to .249 inches.
  • Paragraph spacing (before or after) must be less than or equal to 2.95 points.

Rule 2: Consolidate similar list formatting

This rule identifies inconsistent formatting schemes within a list. The criteria that the Format Consistency Checker uses to search for inconsistencies is:
  • The Format Consistency Checker checks for any change in font property.
  • Indentation differences must be less than or equal to .249 inches.

Rule 3: Match Format to an Existing Style

This rule identifies direct formatting that is very similar to a style already in use. The criteria that the Format Consistency Checker uses to search for matching styles is identical to the criteria in rule 1.

How to use the Format Consistency Checker in the background

To use the Format Consistency Checker in the background as you type, follow these steps, as appropriate for the version of Word that you are running.

Word 2003 or Word 2002

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. Click the Edit tab.
  3. Under Editing options, click to select the Mark formatting inconsistencies check box, and then click OK.

Word 2007

  1. In Word 2007, click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click Word Options.
  2. In the left pane, click Advanced.
  3. In the right pane, click to select the Mark formatting inconsistencies check box under Editing options, and then click OK.
Note To turn the Format Consistency Checker off, repeat steps 1 and 2, and then click to clear the Mark formatting inconsistencies check box.

Properties

Article ID: 284956 - Last Review: January 29, 2007 - Revision: 2.2
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Office Word 2007
  • Microsoft Office Word 2003
  • Microsoft Word 2002 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbhowto kbinfo KB284956

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