Saving Time with AutoCorrect in Microsoft Word 2010

Unless you’re the most accurate typist ever, you’ve probably noticed that Word automatically fixes some of your “creative” spellings. For example, type “teh” and Word’s AutoCorrect function will change it to “the”. I, for one, find it very helpful. What you may not be aware of is that you can also add typing shortcuts for phrases you regularly use.

For some reason, I find myself typing “Microsoft Word 2010” a lot. Actually, I type “mw1” and Word automatically expands this for me. All I’ve done is added my typing shortcut to the AutoCorrect list. Think about words or phrases you are constantly typing (official company or organization names can go on for quite a while).

Add an AutoCorrect Entry

  1. Select the File tab and click Options.
  2. Click the Proofing button in the left pane, and click AutoCorrect Options…
  3. In the AutoCorrect dialog box, in the Replace: box, type your shortcut (use something you wouldn’t normally type. For example “it” is a bad shortcut for “Information Technology”, or anything, for that matter).
  4. In the With: box type the text you want to see.
  5. Click Add, then OK.
  6. Click OK again to get out of the Word Options dialog box.

Try It Out

In your document, type your shortcut (the Replace: entry) and add a space (or something else to indicate the end of the word). Your shortcut should be replaced with the expanded text. You need to add a space or somehow indicate that you’ve ended a word before AutoCorrect will kick in (this is why your cat can type a whole bunch of nonsense on your keyboard without getting a spelling error if the spacebar hasn’t been stepped on).

There’s also a Formatted text option in the dialog box. You can format the text you want to use in the With: box. The easiest way to do this is to format the text you want in the document, select it (you don’t have to copy it), and then open the AutoCorrect dialog box. The text will appear in the With: box. You only need to add your shortcut.

A really cool feature of this is that your plain text shortcuts will work in other Office applications. Create a shortcut in Word, then open Outlook or PowerPoint and the shortcut will work there too (If it doesn’t seem to be working in another application, it’s probably because the app was open. Restart the app and it should work). Shortcuts for formatted text only seem to work in the creating app.

This is one feature I show my students that usually gets a “I’m gonna use that from now on!” response.

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