How to type fractions in MS Word

Fractions are used every day in almost any field. They are present in mathematics, medicine, sports, science, photography, engineering, and in cooking. Fractions continually surround us, and they greatly impact how we proceed with our daily activities.

You’ve probably been taught how to properly write fractions manually and when to apply them in real-world scenarios. But, how do you write them digitally, especially in MS Word? MS Word is known to be the most popular word processor, and it is just fitting that you learn how to type fractions using it.

There are various techniques that you can use to type fractions in MS Word. This article covers three of the simplest ways. 

3 Ways to Type Fractions in MS Word

  • Using the AutoFormat As You Type feature
  • Using predefined fractions
  • Using the Equation tool

By default, MS Word is configured to use the first method. This feature detects and automatically formats fractions as you type them. While this is true, the other methods have their own perks. Today, we’ll guide you through all three of these and explain when they are best used. Learning these other methods will come in handy, especially with complicated fractions.

Let’s get started!

Why Should You Type Fractions in MS Word?

Generally, fractions represent parts of a whole. You use fractions to express data into more readable forms. These data may be in the form of decimals, ratio, probability, time, and other numeric data. Typically, you can just include fractions inline with your text contents using the syntax numerator/denominator, as in 1/2, 1/3, 2/3. 

Although this is an effective method and readable to most users, it does not guarantee that it has the same impact on other complex documents. Learning how to properly type fractions in MS Word helps you reinforce to your readers that what you are presenting are indeed fractions. 

Here are some good rules of thumb to help you decide when to apply fractions:

  • If you need to present the fraction instead of the decimal form of some numbers, like, ½ instead of 0.5.
  • You are working on a document that includes measurement details. An example of this is a recipe document—the measurement of ingredients are presented in fractions.

These are some of the most common instances where fractions are best used. Before you use them in a particular document, you must determine if it’s really the format that will suit your content. 

Let’s dive right in!

Method 1: Using the AutoFormat As You Type Feature

As mentioned earlier, the AutoFormat As You Type feature is a default configuration in the MS Word program. However, there are some cases where this setting is disabled. Follow the steps in this section so that you’ll be familiarized with the parts of the MS Word interface responsible for enabling it.

Here are the steps on how you can enable this.

Step 1: Launch the MS Word application

Begin by launching MS Word. On your computer, search the program by simply pressing the Windows key and immediately typing “Word”. From the results, click the MS Word application.

Step 2: Create a new or open an existing document.

The Start screen appears as you open MS Word. To make sure that the setting that you’re going to enable will work, you need to have a test document. Proceed by creating a new document—using the Blank Document control, or opening an existing one—using the Open control. The image below shows a newly-created document.

Step 3: Access the Word Options dialog box.

The next step that you’ll need to do is to access the dialog box that contains the Proofing features of MS Word. On the ribbon, click the File tab to display the Start screen. From there, click the Options button on the bottom left corner to display the Word Options dialog box.

Step 4: Display the AutoCorrect dialog box from the Proofing section.

Settings from the Word Options dialog box are grouped accordingly into sections. Click the Proofing section and find the AutoCorrect Options button. Click it to display the AutoCorrect dialog box. This dialog box contains features that can automatically format texts as you type them in your document.

Step 5: Enable fraction characters on the AutoFormat As You Type tab.

Click the AutoFormat As You Type tab on the AutoCorrect dialog box. On this tab, you’ll need to focus on the Replace as you type section. Tick the Fractions (1/2) with fraction character (½) checkbox. Leave other checkboxes as is and click the OK button of the AutoCorrect dialog to apply your setting. Finally, click the OK button on the Word Options dialog box to close the dialog box.

Step 6: Type fractions in your document.

Now that you have enabled the fraction character feature, you can already type fractions in your document. Recall that there are two parts of a fraction—numerator and denominator.

Type the numerator immediately, followed by the division symbol “/” and the denominator. Remember not to include spaces between your input characters, for it will not be considered a fraction by the AutoCorrect feature.

After typing your fraction, press the spacebar key on your keyboard and notice that your data will be formatted into a fraction character.

Method 2: Using Predefined Fractions

Another method that you can use to include fractions is by using predefined fractions that are accessible on the Symbol dialog box. This dialog box can be displayed using the Symbol drop-down button on the Insert tab.

Here are the steps on how you can access and use this.

Step 1: Open the MS Word program.

Like the first method, you’ll need to have an open document to accomplish this. Open the MS Word program and create a new document or open an existing one through the controls available on the Start screen

Step 2: Access the Symbols dialog box.

With a document already open, click the Insert tab on the ribbon and look for the Symbols group. From here, you need to click the Symbol drop-down button to view the list of symbols under it. By default, the drop-down list will display the recently-used ones. To access all available symbols, click the More Symbols button under the list.

Step 3: View available fractions under the Number Forms subset.

Now that you have displayed the Symbol dialog box, you need to filter the list of symbols. Click the Subset drop-down button and choose Number Forms from the list. MS Word automatically filters the list of symbols based on your condition.

Step 4: Choose the appropriate fraction.

To insert a fraction, click the desired fraction from the dialog box and subsequently, click the Insert button. Notice that the selected fraction will be inserted automatically to the location of your mouse cursor. The Symbol dialog box will not close yet to let you insert additional fractions or symbols. Once you are done, just click the Close button to close the dialog box.

Method 3: Using the Equation Tool

You can also insert fractions to your document using the Equation tool under the Insert tab. Among the tools discussed, this is perhaps the most flexible for it allows you to freely customize the parts of your fraction. It also offers a list of fraction styles you can choose from.

The following are the simple steps on how to utilize it.

Step 1: Create a new or open an existing document.

For you to visualize how it is done, you need to have an open document in your MS Word program. Launch MS Word on your computer and start a new or open a document from your file storage. 

Step 2: Display the Equation Tools.

To proceed with the succeeding steps, you’ll need to display an additional tab which contains the controls that you will be needing. This is called the Design tab under Equation Tools. To access this, click the Insert tab on the ribbon to make it active and click the Equation drop-down button from the Symbols group. Located below the drop-down list is the Insert New Equation button. Click this button and notice that an equation input box appears on your mouse cursor while the Design tab is added on the ribbon.

Step 3: Insert a fraction format.

In this step, you need to insert a fraction format to the equation input box provided. Click the Fraction drop-down button from the Structures group under the Design tab. A list will be displayed under the drop-down button, showing you available styles to choose from. Click your desired style and it will be inserted to the input box.

Step 4: Customize the fraction.

Now that you have inserted a fraction format, you need to set its numerator and denominator. Edit the fraction’s numerator by clicking it and typing your required number. Perform the same step on the denominator. Once done, click anywhere outside the input box to preview your fraction. If in case you mistyped the digits of your fraction, you can just modify it by redoing this step.


And that’s how you type fractions in MS Word. Hopefully, we’ve given you not one, but three methods on how you can type fractions in MS Word. Here’s a quick recap.

Although there are various techniques on how you can type fractions in MS Word, the simplest and most efficient ways are stated in this article. For one, you can use the default feature that automatically changes a certain line of text into fractions. For two and three, you’ve got the fraction feature in MS Word and their predefined or custom options.

We hope you found this article helpful!

1 thought on “How to type fractions in MS Word”

  1. This article is great for finding and using special characters. I wonder, though, how can one create special characters such as commonly used fractions in recipes so they all look like the fractions provided in the Special Characters section of Word 10 (soon to be 11?).


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