Not to brag, but I make a mean mint chocolate chip cookie.  A neighbor asked for the recipe* and as I typed it, I noticed something funny about fractions in Word.  When I typed 1/2, the fraction shrank down to about the size of one letter.  This is called a fraction character.  When I typed 1/3, it didn’t change at all.

I knew that I had Word set to change fractions to fraction characters as I typed, but I couldn’t figure out why 1/3 wouldn’t change to a fraction character.  (Learn more about this setting at the bottom of this post.)  A Google search told me that Word has only set a few fractions to change into fraction characters.  1/2 and 3/4 will do it, but 1/3 and 2/3 will not.  Annoying.

One article told me that I could insert more fractions as symbols, but that only gave me a few more options, like 1/3 and 1/8.  But what if I need to put in the fraction 3/365?  This led to another Google search that turned up what I found to be a very comprehensive article about fractions in Word.   It gives instructions for several different ways to insert fractions, although none of them (except symbols) look quite the same as fraction characters.

Here it is:  comprehensive fractions in Word article.

Microsoft, if you’re listening, I’d like a to be able to format any fraction as a fraction character in the next version.  Thank you.

If you’d like to learn how to set Word to turn fractions into fraction characters, or to turn this option off, read on.

Automatically Turn (a Few) Fractions into Fraction Characters

Word 2007

  1. Click on the Office button in the top left corner.
  2. Click on Word Options at the bottom of the menu.
  3. Click on Proofing in the left column of the Word Options dialog box.
  4. Click on the AutoCorrect Options button.
  5. Click on the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  6. Check (or uncheck if you don’t like the setting) the box that says Fractions with fraction character.
  7. Click OK and click OK again.

Word 2010

  1. Click on the File tab.
  2. In the left column, click on Options.
  3. Click on Proofing in the left column of the Word Options dialog box.
  4. Click on the AutoCorrect Options button.
  5. Click on the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  6. Check (or uncheck if you don’t like the setting) the box that says Fractions with fraction character.
  7. Click OK and click OK again.

* The secret is fresh chopped mint and Andes Mint baking chips.