Change letter casing in Word 2010: uppercase, lowercase, title / sentence case, or toggle invert

Microsoft Word is designed to streamline composition and text editing operation, even sometimes coming to your rescue by correcting what it perceive as accidental mistakes - one such example is to forget the leading uppercase at the beginning of a document, title, or following a period; another is to detect if you have accidentally left the "CapsLock" key engaged. But Word can't always guess right: however, if you make any mistake that pertains to capitalization, you'll have to learn a handy keyboard shortcut that allows you to change between uppercase, lowercase, title case or sentence case, and invert the current casing selection of a selection of text. This will spare you from having to retype an entire paragraph (or a few sentence) - we'll also mention AutoCorrect, to use to prevent Word from automatically changing case.

Fun tip: here's a nice experiment that illustrates how "smart" Word 2010 is behind the scenes. Turn CapsLock on, and type the beginning of a sentence by using Shift to capitalize the first letter: as soon as you hit the spacebar, Word will guess that you didn't want CapsLock, and will (1) adjust to the proper case (turning everything into lowercase and the first letter into uppercase), and (2) will automatically turn off CapsLock. Quite impressive, if you think about it!


Toggle between uppercase, lowercase, and mixed case

In this case, there's nothing better than trying with an example: type a word in lowercase (don't press the spacebar to avoid having Word auto-capitalize the first letter). While this tutorial focuses on the keyboard shortcut approach, a big time saver, know that you can also use the "Change Case" button and dropdown menu in Microsoft Word 2010, located under the "Home" tab in the Ribbon, with options discussed below: Sentence case, lowercase, UPPERCASE, Capitalize Each Word, and tOGGLE cASE.

Change case button in Microsoft Word 2010

This is the three-part cycle for a single, lowercase word: but the behavior of this keyboard shortcut is "contextual" - its action will depend on the text currently selected, and its own casing.

Toggle invert case

When the text selection includes unusual capitalization (such as uppercase letters in the middle of a word), Microsoft Word will start by "rectifying" to what it perceives is the proper casing: generally, this means either full lowercase, or all lowercase with first letter uppercased:
Toggle invert case in Word 2010 documents When the selection is fully capitalized, Word 2010 will invert the case to full lowercase, or sentence case (see below). When the selected text is completely lowercase, Word will first capitalize it, and invert to full uppercase the next time you press the Shift+F3 keyboard shortcut.

Title Case vs. Sentence Case

"Sentence Case" will convert the first letter to a majuscule and show everything else in minuscules; "Title Case", on the other hand, will capitalize the first letter of every word. Between which of these two Word 2010 will opt depends on the content of the current text selection: if it includes a period, Word will use sentence case; otherwise, it will convert to title case instead. (You will need to hit Shift+F3 three times to get to sentence case or title case, the schema below is simplified for clarity.)
Sentence case vs title case in Word 2010

Caveat: the automatic conversion to title case Word 2010 offers isn't a proper "MLA" style title, since articles and prepositions will be capitalized as well.

Prevent Word 2010 from automatically capitalizing

Sometimes, you'll want Word to respect your capitalization: examples include acronyms, which should remain uppercased - and since Microsoft Word isn't familiar with all acronyms, you are bound to run into acronyms that it will interpret as regular nouns. Other irregulars include mixed case nouns and proper nouns, most famously like software and hardware by Apple: think of "iTunes" and "iPod", whose first letter should never be capitalized, even when it opens a title or sentence.

Without delving too much into a topic that will be covered in a later tutorial, know that you can add words and expression that should not be converted, or should be converted back: click on the "File" button (top left corner), and select "Options". In the dialog that opens, choose "Proofing" in the left pane, and click on the "AutoCorrect Options" button: at that point, add an Exception or add a new auto-replacement.

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