Quick Tip – AutoCorrect in Microsoft Word

March 25, 2009

AutoCorrect in Microsoft Word isn’t just for fixing commonly misspelled words, but can also be used to allow you to use “shorthand” in your typing. I know when I’m writing technical documents, I get tired of typing “Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3” all the time, but don’t want to just type “XPSP3” and look unprofessional. Sometimes it’s easier to just type a quick shorthand version of a word or phrase instead of the whole word or phrase.  If you want to speed up your work, create a few auto-corrections to help you along.

In Microsoft Word 2003, go to the “Tools” menu, select “AutoCorrect Options…”, and then select the “AutoCorrect” tab.

In Microsoft Word 2007, click on the Office button, select “Word Options,” click “Proofing” in the left pane, click on the “AutoCorrect Options” button, and then select the “AutoCorrect” tab.

Here a few you can try:

  • Replace “w/” with “with”
  • Replace “IMO.” with “In my opinion”
  • Replace “MS.” with “Microsoft Corporation”
  • Replace “XPSP3.”  with “Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3”
  • Replace “MSIE8.” with “Microsoft Internet Explorer v8.0”
  • Replace “CVT.” with “Compatibility Verification Testing”

Note that I typically end my AutoCorrect entries with a period (.) so that I can still use the acronym if needed (e.g., Word doesn’t AutoCorrect “MS” when I’m trying to type something else). If you use a period in your AutoCorrects, like I do, you may also want to create the same AutoCorrect with a greater than symbol (>). For example, “XPSP3>” so if you’re zipping along and you hold down the shift key too long while typing, you still get the same AutoCorrect entry when you hit “SHIFT-.” If you want to undo the AutoCorrect, you can just hit backspace when it pops up. Plus if you use Word as your email editor in Microsoft Outlook, your AutoCorrect shorthands will work there as well.

Just one more note — AutoText (at least in Word 2003) can also be helpful to type out long phrases. However, if you have many that start the same (e.g., “Microsoft Windows XP” vs. “Microsoft Windows Vista”), the AutoText entry won’t pop-up until you get to the “difference” in the phrase (e.g., “Microsoft Windows V” before “Microsoft Windows Vista” will pop-up).

AutoCorrect lets you create your own “shorthand.” So, what are you going to shorten today?

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