The AutoCorrect feature in Microsoft Office
can be used to do more than correct spelling errors. I use
it to create a shorthand for terms I used frequently that are not easy to type. For example, I am an ASTD (American
Society for Training and Development ) member. Typing the full name is a hassle, and typing the four caps is inconvenient
(I have disabled the Caps Lock key).
I have added two entries to the right-hand side of the AutoCorrect table; "American
Society for Training and Development", and "ASTD". The first one will get replaced by the expanded
"American Society for Training and Development". The second one is replaced by the all caps version,
"ASTD". (See below for how to find the AutoCorrect dialog box for Office 2007.) AutoCorrect entries
apply to all members of the Office suite.
If for some reason you need to leave the shorthand text unreplaced,
such as I did to write this article, Word allows you to keep the shorthand by placing the cursor at the first character of
the shorthand, and clicking MB1 on the blue underline that appears.
A small popup menu will appear that allows you to undo the correction.
Warning: If you save, and close the document, then open it again, Word will, in its
infinite wisdom, apply the AutoCorrect corrections. The little blue line will no longer appear. You will have
to go back and undo the AutoCorrect "by hand". If you choose the "Stop Automatically Correcting"
option in the menu, your entry in the AutoCorrect table is removed.
Accessing the AutoCorrect
dialog box in Office 2007
Click on the office button (a.k.a. the pearl) in the upper left-hand side of the program window.
At the bottom of the menu, toward the left, is
a button labeled, "Word Options" (or "Excel" or "PowerPoint" or whatever Office suite
app you happen to be using). Click on the "Options" button.
This will bring up the appropriate "Options" dialog box. In the left-hand pane, click on "Proofing".
The AutoCorrect button will be near the top. Click that, and use the table that is at the bottom of the AutoCorrect
This comes in handy in any industry that has lots of long complicated terms, e.g., mesothelioma in the medical (and
legal) field. Just be careful that your shortcut does not duplicate a real word.