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Home > Jan's CompLit 101 > Working with Words > Word Basics > Interface > Smart Tags/Actions
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Jan's Working with Words

    Interface: Smart Tags/Actions

A feature since Word 2002, Smart Tags have changed for Word 2007 and later versions. The name for this feature in Office 2010/2013 is Actions. Some old smart tags are no longer available. Actions are off by default in Office 2010, 2013, and 2016.

Smart tags/Actions can help you manage tasks that you might normally have to use a different program to do. At least that's the idea.

Information that can be turned into a Smart Tag/Action:

  • Person's name
  • Date
  • Time
  • Address
  • Place
  • Telephone number
  • Recent Outlook e-mail recipient
  • Stock ticker symbol
  • Measurement

Programmers can write other Smart Tags/Actions that make sense for particular businesses. For example, a store might have one for looking up current inventory on a product's name in an invoice. FedEx has one for getting information about a package using its tracking number.

Smart Tags

 Icon: Word 2007 Word 2007:  The indicator for a Smart Tag is a purple dotted underline. Hover over the text to see a popup button. Click the down arrow on the button to see the menu of actions.

In the illustration both the name and the street address have the purple dotted underline. There is a different menu for each.

Text with Smart Tag indicator - dotted purple line Menu- Smart Tag - Name Menu: Smart Tag - Address


Icon: Word 2010 Icon: Word 2013 Icon: Word 2016 Word 2010, 2013, 2016: No purple dots!  No popup button.

You have to notice that there is text in your document that might have some actions attached. Right click on the text to see the context-sensitive menu. At the bottom of the menu, click on Additional Actions... to see what actions available.  There may not be any at all. These seem to fade away more with each version of Office.

Examples from Word 2010: Actions for a name, an address, a measurement.

Right Click Menu: Action - Name (Word 2010)  Right Click Menu: Action - Address (Word 2010) Right Click Menu: Action - Measurement (Word 2010)

Turn On/Off Smart Tags/Actions 

Dialog: AutoCorrect - Actions tab (Word 2013)In the dialog Word Options > AutoCorrect dialog > Smart Tags or Actions tab, there is a list of the text that Word recognizes. There is a check box at the top to disable all of the smart tags or actions. Uncheck it to turn all of them off.

Or, you can check the box and then individual boxes to turn on the ones you will use.

Other 'Smart' Buttons in Word

Word uses the same type of button and options menu for some of Word's own features. The exact options may vary depending on exactly what you just did.

  • Button: AutoCorrection Options AutoCorrect Options
    This button does not pop into view automatically when AutoCorrect makes a change. Here is an example of how it works:
    • Type something that Word's AutoCorrect feature recognizes as a possible problem, like a name with two initial capital letters, like "JAn", or all lower case, like "jan".
    • AutoCorrect changes it automatically, to use only 1 initial capital, like "Jan".
      No button appears yet.
    • Move the mouse pointer over the corrected word.
    • The AutoCorrect Options button appears in its collapsed state, as a small blue box under the word.  Button: AutoCorrect Options - collapsed to blue box
    • Button: AutoCorrect Options - arrowMove the mouse pointer over the blue box and the full AutoCorrect Options button appears.
    • Button: AutoCorrect Options menuClick the arrow to see the menu of options.
      The choices listed will depend on what kind of correction AutoCorrect made.
  • Paste Options Button: Paste Options (Word 2007) Button: Paste Options (Word 2010) Button: Paste Options (Word 2013)

    Whenever you paste in Word, the Paste Options button appears nearby, usually at the lower right of what you pasted. For Word 2007, you must hover over the button to make the arrow appear.

    Click on the arrow and a menu of options appears. The options can vary, depending on what you are pasting and what program it is from.

    Button: Paste Options menu (Word 2007) Button: Paste Options menu Button: Paste Options menu (Word 2013)

    Icon: Word 2010 Icon: Word 2013 Icon: Word 2016 Word 2010, 2013, and 2016: Icons for the choices instead of words. Hover over the icon to see a screen tip about it AND to let Live Preview show the effect in your document immediately.
    Some common choices:
            Button: Keep source formatting (Word 2010) Button: Keep source formatting (Word 2013) Keep the original source formatting.
            Button: Use destination formatting (Word 2010) Button: Merge formatting (Word 2013) Merge formatting between the source and the destination. May lose some formatting.
            Button: Paste - Use destination styles (Word 2010) Button: Paste - Use destination theme (Word 2013) Use destination theme formatting.
            Button: Paste as text (Word 2010) Button: Paste as text (Word 2013) Keep the text only, and none of the formatting of the original.