TechRepublic’s content management system doesn’t like smart tags. I was one of the user guinea pigs who found this out the hard way when I received an upgrade to Microsoft Office XP recently. After editing a few articles, I discovered I was unable to upload the documents to our CMS and was stumped as to the cause. It cost me some time, but that’s the price we early adopters have to pay, right?

Fortunately, our tech team will be rolling XP out to others without the smart tags feature. If you didn’t push Office XP to your users’ workstations using a custom install that excluded smart tags, you may now be facing a variety of problems that this feature can cause.

But it’s not difficult to turn off the feature. Here are some handy instructions you can send to your users, or post on your intranet, to help get over the smart tag hurdles in your workflow. If you’re a fan of the feature, I’ve included some resources to find out more about smart tags and their many positive uses.

What are smart tags?

For an in-depth explanation of smart tags and their utilities, visit the Microsoft Web site.

How to turn off smart tags
To turn off smart tags in Microsoft Word, you’ll have to do the following:

  1. Choose Format | AutoFormat and click Options.
  2. Click on the Smart Tags tab.
  3. Deselect Label Text With Smart Tags, as shown in Figure A.
  4. Click OK to close the AutoCorrect dialog box.
  5. Click Close.

Figure A

How to remove smart tags from outside documents
If you receive documents from outside sources, you may find that those documents have smart tags imbedded in them. To keep these tags from affecting your internal systems, you’ll need to perform the following to remove the smart tags:

Figure B

  1. Open the document.
  2. Chose Tools | AutoCorrect Options.
  3. Click on the Smart Tags tab.
  4. Click in the Remove Smart Tags button, as shown in Figure B.
  5. Click Yes in the dialogue box stating that all smart tags will be removed, as shown in Figure C.
  6. Click OK in the dialogue box that states all smart tags have been removed.

Figure C

More information about smart tags
If smart tags don’t conflict with any of your internal systems, you might find them quite useful. Smart tags offer users functions and commands related to the type of text they’re working with. The Smart Tag related text is usually indicated by a dotted underline. When users hover their mouse over that text, the Smart Tag action button appears and they can click to see the available options.

Administrators can learn to create their own smart tags, using the Microsoft Office XP Smart Tag Software Development Kit 1.1, which can be downloaded from the MSDN Web site. Or, you may choose to use to install smart tags created by third-party companies and power users. For example, World Lingo has created smart tags that provide instant translation services for text, e-mail, and Web pages, and Lexis Nexis’ smart tags allow users to link directly to information from a person, address, or legal case name typed into a Word document.

Smart tag tutorial from TechProGuild

TechProGuild members can take advantage of this Daily Drill Down that explains how you can use the smart tags built in to Word 2002 and Outlook 2002. The article also shows how to create your own smart tags and how they can be added to Web pages.