Customize the AutoCorrect Feature in Microsoft Office Apps to Save Time

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The AutoCorrect feature in Microsoft Word, Excel, and other Office apps is handy because it automatically fixes and formats text as you type it. However, it might make changes that you do not want. Find out how to customize this feature so it behaves like you want it to.

Microsoft Office apps such as Word, Excel, and Outlook include the AutoCorrect feature, which automatically fixes and formats text as you type it. Besides correcting commonly misspelled words and incorrect capitalization, the feature performs many other functions. The functions vary depending on the app, but they might include replacing text strings with symbols (e.g., replacing “(TM)” with the trademark symbol) and changing text formatting (e.g., changing straight quotes into smart quotes).

While the AutoCorrect feature is handy most of the time, it can be a nuisance if it changes a certain word or text string when you do not want it to. For example, if you often include the acronym “CNA” in documents because your company offers certified nursing assistant (CNA) staffing services, it would be frustrating to have the Office apps keep changing “CNA” to “CAN” and time-consuming to change it back each time.

Fortunately, it is easy to customize this feature in the AutoCorrect window. The steps to get to this window are the same in almost all of the Office apps:

  1. Open any new or existing file in the app.
  2. Select the “File” menu.
  3. Click “Options”.
  4. Choose “Proofing”.
  5. Click the “AutoCorrect Options ” button to bring up the AutoCorrect window.

There is one exception. To access the AutoCorrect window in Outlook, you need to do the following:

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. Select the “File” menu.
  3. Click “Options”.
  4. Choose “Mail”.
  5. Click the “Editor Options” button.
  6. Select “Proofing”.
  7. Click the “AutoCorrect Options” button to bring up the AutoCorrect window.

Although the steps needed to get to the AutoCorrect window are, for the most part, standard across all the Office apps, the tabs that you will see depend on the app. For example, Word’s AutoCorrect window has five tabs, while Excel’s AutoCorrect window only has four of them. The options available in each tab also vary depending on the app.

All the apps have the “AutoCorrect” tab, though. This is where you can customize the list of misspelled words that the app will look for and change. For instance, you can delete the entry that tells the app to change “cna” to “can” if you often use the acronym “CNA” in your documents. You can also add entries, which comes in handy for use as shortcuts. For example, if you frequently include the term “service level agreement” in your files, you can add an entry that automatically changes “sla” to “service level agreement”. That way, you only have to type “sla” when you want to include that term. Any changes you make to this list in one Office app will be made to the lists in the other Office apps that support the AutoCorrect feature.

After you have finished making your customizations, you just need to click “OK” in the AutoCorrect window to apply the changes. They will take effect as soon as you start typing.

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