There are several methods you can use to create fractions in Microsoft Word documents. The easiest options include:

## Using AutoFormat

Microsoft Word can automatically format some common fractions like 1/2 and 1/4 when you type them. To enable this:

- Go to
**File > Options > Proofing** - Click on
**AutoCorrect Options** - Go to the
**AutoFormat As You Type**tab - Check the box next to
**Fractions (1/2) with fraction character (1⁄2)**

Once enabled, simply type the fraction normally with a forward slash (e.g. 1/2) and press spacebar. Word will convert it to the fraction character automatically.

## Inserting Symbols

You can insert fraction symbols from Word’s symbol library:

- Place cursor where you want the fraction
- Go to
**Insert > Symbols > More Symbols** - Change font to
**Normal Text** - Choose
**Number Forms**under**Subset** - Select the fraction you want
- Click
**Insert**

This allows you to insert less common fractions like 1/3 or 1/8.

## Using Equations

The Equation Tools in Word provide more formatting options for fractions:

- Go to
**Insert > Equation** - Click
**Fraction**under**Structures** - Choose the fraction structure you want
- Type the numerator and denominator into the equation box
- Click anywhere outside the box to insert

You can then customize the fraction’s appearance (size, layout etc.) using the **Equation Tools** formatting toolbar.

## Formatting Existing Fractions

To format existing fractions in your document (e.g. change simple text fractions to special characters):

- Select the fraction text
- Press
**Ctrl+F9**to enclose it in field brackets`{ }`

- Right-click the field and select
**Toggle Field Codes** - Replace the text with this field code:
`{ EQ \f( ) }`

- Type your fraction between the parentheses
- Press
**Ctrl+F9**again to toggle back to field result

The fraction will now render with fraction formatting applied.

## Using a Macro

You can create a Word macro to automate fraction formatting:

- Go to
**View > Macros > View Macros** - Insert a new module
- Paste this VBA macro code:
`Sub FormatFractions() Selection.Find.ClearFormatting Selection.Find.Replacement.ClearFormatting With Selection.Find .Text = "([0-9]+)/([0-9]+)" .Replacement.Text = "^{EQ\\f($1)$2}" .Forward = True .Wrap = wdFindContinue .Format = False .MatchCase = False .MatchWholeWord = False .MatchWildcards = False .MatchSoundsLike = False .MatchAllWordForms = False End With Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll End Sub`

- Run the macro to format all fractions in your document

This macro will find text fractions and convert them to formatted equation field fractions automatically.

## Keyboard Shortcuts

Some handy keyboard shortcuts for fractions in Word include:

**Alt+=**– Open Equation Tools**Alt+J**then**F**– Insert Fraction**Ctrl+Shift+=**– Subscript**Ctrl+=**– Superscript

These allow you to quickly insert and format fractions without using the mouse.

## Tips for Consistent Fractions

When working with fractions in Word:

- Use the same fraction formatting style throughout your document for consistency
- Set your preferences under
**AutoFormat As You Type** - Create your own macros and quick access toolbar buttons to speed up inserting fractions
- Make use of keyboard shortcuts and auto formatting to type fractions faster

Taking the time to customize Word to suit how you work with fractions can save you a lot of effort down the track.

## Converting Fractions to Decimals

To convert a fraction to a decimal figure:

- Select the fraction
- Go to
**Home > Paragraph**dialogue box launcher - Click
**Text Effects and Typography**(Custom Paragraph Formatting) - Enable
**Convert fractions to decimals** - Click
**OK**

The fraction will now display its decimal value instead of the fraction. Useful for situations where a decimal value would be preferable to presenting something as a fraction.

## Potential Issues with Fractions

A couple of things to keep in mind when working with fractions in Word:

- Equation boxes may not fit seamlessly within normal body text or flow between pages cleanly. Consider positioning them outside the main paragraph text.
- Fractions inside tables may be misaligned or overflow cell boundaries at certain font sizes. Manually adjust cell widths if needed.

Test your document thoroughly on different devices/screens. Zooming in and out can reveal formatting issues with fractions.

## Final Thoughts

Microsoft Word provides several options for typing, inserting and formatting numeric fractions. With a bit of setup and practice, you can configure Word to handle fractions suited to your workflow needs. Automating common tasks through auto formatting and macros can help speed up working with fractions considerably. Just be mindful of potential formatting issues in complex documents.