How to turn off Text Predictions in Word and Outlook

Microsoft announced the upcoming release of a text prediction service in Word and Outlook last year. Text predictions, as the name suggests, predict words and phrases users are likely to type, and provide options to add these to texts with minimal effort.

Microsoft suggests that predictions help users type faster, and that they may also help reduce spelling and grammar errors.

Ideally, text predictions will be right 100% of the time and will speed up the typing once the user has found the right rhythm when it comes to making use of them. Word or Outlook would predict that the user wants to write antediluvian when writing ant, or concomitant based on the first three characters of the word. In a not so ideal world, Word or Outlook could predict something else entirely, such as antiseptic or conduit.

text predictions

That's why Microsoft is making use of machine learning. Text Predictions learn over time to improve the recommendations that they give to users based on a user's writing style.

The feature works in all documents and email messages in the two supported applications once it has been launched. It needs to be noted that the feature is limited to US English at the time.

Users may notice predicted text being displayed as they type -- the text is displayed in a light gray color to distinguish from already typed text -- and may complete the word or phrase with the Tab-key. A tap on the Esc-key rejects the suggestion, and it is also possible to continue to type manually. Microsoft states that the "content is not stored or seen by any human".

word text predictions

Some Word and Outlook users may appreciate the feature, others may dislike it. If you belong to the "don't need or want camp", you may use the following instructions to turn of text predictions in Word and Outlook.

How to turn off text predictions in Word

Text predictions are supported in Word on the Web and in Office 365.

  1. Hover the mouse cursor over the status bar entry "Text Predictions: On" and left-click on the entry.
  2. Uncheck the "show text predictions while typing" in Office 365 or "suggest words or phrases as I type" in Word on the Web to turn off text predictions in Microsoft Word.

How to turn off text predictions in Outlook

Similarly, text predictions may be turned off in Outlook on the Web or in Office 365.

  1. If you are using the Web version of Outlook, go to Settings > View all Outlook settings > Mail > compose and reply, and uncheck the option "Suggest words or phrases as I type" under text predictions.
  2. In Office 365, select File > Options while writing an email. There you need to uncheck the "Show text predictions while typing" option under Compose messages.

Now You: What is your take on text predictions?

Summary
How to turn off Text Predictions in Word and Outlook
Article Name
How to turn off Text Predictions in Word and Outlook
Description
Find out how to turn off text predictions in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Outlook in Office 365 and on the Web.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Anonymous said on February 22, 2021 at 6:00 pm
    Reply

    The full quote is:

    “The content is not stored or seen by any human unless donated as part of the feedback mechanism.”

    How much time before that data collection and processing become consentless, like Microsoft likes to do ?

    “Another way you can help refine this feature is to donate your actual emails so we can analyze their contents and improve the quality of suggestions in the future.”

    *Pukes*

  2. DaveyK said on February 22, 2021 at 9:32 pm
    Reply

    Am I the only one that wishes that MS would instead focus on fixing some of the more glaring issues with their software before implementing silly new gimmicks like this?

    Outlook still loves to hang for several seconds at a time if there’s any issue accessing a mailbox (particularly a problem if you have several mailboxes open, or if your VPN connection temporarily drops). Quite why the server processing seems to share the same thread as the UI is beyond me.

    I’m also sick of the recent bug in Outlook that won’t let you attach a document to an e-mail if it is open in another window. Thus forcing me to close the spreadsheet, attach it, then re-open it again. Weirdly, if it is in the “recent” list, it will attach without complaint.

    Add onto this the horrible, cluttered interface in Outlook these days (so much white space and other huge elements) that make e-mail navigation a pain on a small screen and I can’t help think that fixing basic issues like these and improving the accessibility of the programs should be a far higher priority than a feature which 99% of people will probably just disable.

  3. Anonymous said on February 22, 2021 at 10:38 pm
    Reply

    Good for people who can’t spell This feature could be very annoying.

  4. Matthew Brockway said on February 22, 2021 at 11:02 pm
    Reply

    I will be turning this feature off, when it comes out for Word. I have been typing for decades, and know what I want. Having predictions come up regularly is a real pain and distraction. So I turn them off in email and on my iPhone and iPad.

  5. Anonymous said on February 23, 2021 at 12:36 am
    Reply

    Thanks Martin. The suggestions were annoying and sometimes inappropriate. I told Microsoft about it. I wanted to disable the suggestions and now I have. Good information.

  6. Charlie said on February 23, 2021 at 2:44 pm
    Reply

    I see the option in Outlook web and it is turned on, but I see no evidence of it actually working as I type a new email.

  7. neil said on February 24, 2021 at 10:25 am
    Reply

    and fix the issue of search. search has been about the worst thing MS ever did in Outlook & since moving to the title bar has not improved and the fact default searches now are FROM: is bonkers /rant

  8. anonymous said on March 23, 2021 at 12:40 am
    Reply

    this new feature is sh*t; it’s like a rearview camera (actually, its way worse, but the analogy is coming): the machines are taking over our need for intelligent thought.

    But honestly, MSFT really ought to run focus groups that include people who have ADHD or photosensitive epilepsy. For us, this attempt to help productivity only significantly decreases it.

    (It feels like we are all being treated to a dose of that brainwashing technique you see on the SyFi channel that involves a lot of flashing lights and images)

    the worst part about any of this: that our comments, reactions, suggestions, thoughts… are never actually heard or acknowledged by any of these tech companies who just shove new crap onto our corporate PCs and don’t think twice about end user experience.

    sorry y’all, rant over. for now.

  9. Anonymous said on June 5, 2021 at 7:00 pm
    Reply

    I absolutely hate this feature. Thank you so much for the how-to to turn it off. Now that you pointed it out, I will know to check the tiny bar in the left corner, but I spent time I shouldn’t have had to trying to turn this feature off before finding your post.

    I think “features” like this should be opt-in, not opt out, or should be much easier to find to turn off. And I agree with the suggestions above – there are plenty of other issues Microsoft needs to fix before adding “helpers” like this. One that wasn’t mentioned above – terrible grammar in the suggested grammar fixes. As often as they’re right, they’re wrong. And the database programmers need to learn the use of apostrophes…. Thanks for the rant space. :)

  10. anonymous said on June 26, 2021 at 3:36 am
    Reply

    Thank you for posting this where I could find it and use it after an MS Office update today.

    Sadly, this nonsense is the same thing I see my company implementing and me coding for them: window-dressing trinkets that are this year’s Christmas toys that everyone needs to be told that they want, while data-integrity code defects go un-addressed because no salesperson can make a commission off of us publishing their correction.

    Our society is evolving, and being run by a generation that learned to communicate in broken grammar on their smartphone while nursing a five-second attention span.
    They _want_ the machine to think for them. It is so much easier than thinking for one’s self.

    Abdication of personal responsibility.
    Corporate America is only too willing to step in, for a modest fee and your privacy.
    We aren’t going to get Microsoft or anybody else to stop. There’s far too much money to be made at it.

    As above, thanks for the rant space.
    We will survive this, somehow.

  11. anon said on July 1, 2021 at 9:59 pm
    Reply

    So, Microsoft wants to use what we type to improve AI while charging me a hefty annual price for Office 365 subscriptions. Then someday AI will tell me what to see, think and do and its happening already. Someone needs to get a hold of the monster and put it back in the pit.

    How will they profit from improving AI?

    Thanks for this article, this behavior started on my machine yesterday no doubt a sneaky effect of an update. It was easy to fix using your instructions, but I suspect Word and Outlook are still “phoning home” everything I type even though the predictive text is shut off.

    They think we’re all stupid. They should be paying us.

  12. Tammi Naumann said on July 7, 2021 at 8:53 pm
    Reply

    Thank you for the resourceful article! I looked for the status bar entry, but I couldn’t find it in the web version of Microsoft Word. What I did find, however, was Editor (between Dictate and Designer) above the opened document, and the option to disable suggested text was in there. Scroll down to Text Predictions and click the item’s “button” to turn this annoying feature off. I think Off should be default. I hate when developers set defaults for items they think I need. Adobe is another company that does that when people want or need to download the free or pro version of its Acrobat PDF Reader. I often tell my students to uncheck the boxes next to the McAfee antivirus and Chrome extension options before downloading the reader because they likely do not need them. I think these options should be unchecked by default. Let the consumers make up their own minds.

  13. Robert Cohn said on July 8, 2021 at 12:18 am
    Reply

    Thanks so much for telling us how to disable this intrusive feature – predictive text! It’s like having a know-it-all teacher always looking over your shoulder. Very irritating!

    I can appreciate why some people would love this feature, and in some cases it makes sense where time is more critical. But it should not be the default.

  14. Bill said on July 8, 2021 at 11:11 pm
    Reply

    Unfortunately, it seems to me that the programmers job is made simpler when the human conversation is simpler. Predictive text, if used, limits the conversation to a box only as big as a programmers imagination and literary ambition. I know a lot of programmers. Imagination is not their strong suit – no offense to creative programmers intended. Broadly speaking, to predict the manner in which I prefer to speak would require far more resources than they would ever allocate.

    If it were up to me they would go the opposite direction as a software company. I want a far simpler interface with basic editing function and attachments. Anything more than that is a distraction and I can honestly say, totally ignored and certainly a distraction making me wish I wasn’t on outlook.

    In the end, I disable nearly every “improvement” Microsoft offers, and check “metered connection” to prevent it’s downloads from happening in the middle of mastering a single for a customer. Of course that is not supposed to happen but we all know how real life works.

    Ill pay 5x what they are charging if they strip it down to an OS that works as a background product and doesn’t need the internet and isn’t of bloatware. That OS would be pure gold, worth every penny.

  15. Helen said on July 26, 2021 at 3:45 pm
    Reply

    Grateful to have found out how to turn it off. If this is how good AI is supposed to be then we’re in worse trouble than I thought.

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