Formatting Fractions

Microsoft Word will automatically convert some fractions “1/4” to “¼” for you. This is true for the most common fractions, like:

Fraction Blog 01

Word does this by using its “Autocorrect” feature. When the font you’re using has the fractions already formatted, Word will substitute the fraction by using the built-in characters from your font.

But what if you want to type 3/16 and have it look like the other fractions? You can “fool” Word into doing this by using a combination of superscript for the number to the left of the diagonal line (/) and a smaller point size to the right of the line.

This is a simple two-step process, after typing your fraction. First highlight the numbers to the left of the diagonal line, and select superscript in the top ribbon or character dialog box:

Fraction Blog 02

You should see something like this:

Fraction Blog 03

Next, highlight the numbers after the diagonal line. Then change the point size until it looks like the same size as the first number:

Fraction Blog 04

I find that the point size is roughly four “clicks” on the smaller point size symbol in the ribbon bar:

Fraction Blog 05

And voila! You have a newly formatted fraction!

Fraction Blog 06

The first fraction is automatically formatted by Word, and the second is the one that was formatted using superscript and point size changes.

Formatting Whole Numbers With Fractions

There are two acceptable ways of typing whole number with fractions:

Use a hyphen between the whole number and the fraction. This is normally done when the fraction hasn’t been reformatted, and the numbers in the fraction are the same point size as the whole number(s). For example, you would use this format:

Fraction Blog 07

When using fractions that use smaller numbers, such as those automatically formatted by Word, or those that you have reformatted yourself, delete any space that may appear between the whole number and the fraction. Word will only format a fraction if there is a space before the fraction, and a space or other punctuation after the fraction. For example, to make the following fraction, first type the “1,” then a space, then the fraction. After the fraction is automatically formatted, delete that space after the “1.”

Fraction Blog 08