Word 2003: Turn off the ‘writing book’ icon

October 15, 2008

I’ve been working on a client’s Word documents via a Citrix connection. For the most part it works well, but occasionally Word 2003 slows down to a crawl. I’ve turned off all the usual suspects (background and auto saves, spelling/grammar checks as you type, keep track of formatting options, etc.). But still the little ‘writing book’ icon in Word 2003’s status bar was showing a lot of movement.

I double- and triple-checked that I’d turned off the spelling and grammar options as that’s what this icon shows you is happening (see this WordTips article for a great explanation of each of this icon’s states). But still it was as busy as a beaver, even when I wasn’t doing ANYTHING in the document. I’d sit back, take my hands off the mouse and just watch it. Well, it got to the point where I wanted to kill that writing book icon forever, believing it to be the cause of all the slowness!

Off to Google and after some hunting I found that this icon is doing more than just controlling the spelling and grammar checks—it’s related to that nefarious Smart Tags ‘feature’ as well. I’ve never figured out what Smart Tags were for or how to best use them, so turning them off wasn’t a hard decision. In typical Microsoft Word fashion, the options for Smart Tags are NOT on the Tools > Options menu where I expected them to be.

Here’s how to turn off SmartTags and get rid of that icon forever:

  1. On the Word 2003 menu, go to Tools > AutoCorrect Options.
  2. Select the Smart Tags tab.
  3. Clear the Label text with smart tags check box.
  4. While you’re at it, clear the Show Smart Tags Actions buttons check box.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Type a couple of random letters in the Word document to see if it’s gone.

If the icon doesn’t go away, make sure you’ve also turned off the automatic spelling and grammar checking as you type (Tools > Options > Spelling & Grammar—one check box in the Spelling section and another in the Grammar section).

Don’t forget to manually run a spelling and/or grammar check over your document when you’ve finished it. With this icon turned off, you won’t see any more red or green squigglies, so you won’t be alerted to any obvious typos. The quickest way to manually check spelling and grammar in your document is by pressing the F7 key.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: