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More Easy Automation in Microsoft Word 2003-Part 2

Adding automation to save time and eliminating steps in Word doesn’t just involve writing macros. A lot can be accomplished with built-in features available to everyone. In the previous issue, we looked at modifying your default document formatting. In this second of a two-part series, learn how to quickly automate text entry with AutoCorrect and AutoText.

Automating Text Entry with AutoCorrect

You have probably seen AutoCorrect at work even if you haven’t used it intentionally. Have you ever typed a line of text only to have the first letter of the line automatically capitalize? Or, have you typed a word only to see the spelling change almost instantly? Type teh and watch it change to the, type compair and it will automatically correct to compare. AutoCorrect not only corrects spelling errors but it can also be shorthand for commonly typed words or short phrases:

  1. Highlight a name, formula or short phrase that you frequently type. This is handy, for instance, for your address or if you have a specially formatted entry such as H2O.
     
  2. Choose Tools > AutoCorrect Options, pick the AutoCorrect tab if needed.
     
  3. In the Replace box, type a shorthand abbreviation that you will use to automatically give you the text shown in With box. Don’t use an abbreviation or acronym that you might use in other ways but keep it simple. In the example below, mwa is a shortcut for Microsoft Word Automation.
     
  4. While you are here, uncheck any option in the top section that you don’t want such as Capitalize first letter of sentences. OK to finish.
     
  5. In your document, type the shortcut followed by a space, punctuation, or [Enter] and your entry will automatically appear.
    Bonus: if AutoCorrect changes text that you don’t want, choose Undo to reverse the change.

Automating Text Entry with AutoText

AutoCorrect is great for short phrases and spelling errors but it isn’t the best choice for larger amounts of text or if you want to control when the text automatically is entered. AutoText is also the best choice for multiple line entries such as addresses or text with graphics such as a logo. To create an AutoText entry:

  1. Highlight the text that you want to use again (the result).
     
  2. Choose Insert > AutoText > New.
     
  3. Type the name of the entry (the shortcut). This should be 4 or more characters (for easier automation; fewer characters are also allowed) and it can be a common word such as address because you will decide when you want the AutoText entry. AutoText entries will be available to you in all Word documents.
  4. Choose OK to finish.
     
  5. To use your personal AutoText entry, just begin typing the shortcut. Word will prompt you with the final answer. Press [Enter] or [Tab] to get the full entry (the result). If you don’t want to use the AutoText entry, just keep typing.
    Bonus: another way to bring up an AutoText entry is to type the shortcut (without a space at the end) and press the [F3] function key.

Creating automatic text entries with AutoCorrect and AutoText are great ways to easily automate your work in Microsoft Word.

© Dawn Bjork Buzbee, MCT, The Software Pro®

Dawn Bjork Buzbee is The Software Pro® and a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) as well as a certified Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Master Instructor, certified Microsoft Applications Specialist (MCAS) Instructor, and a certified Microsoft Office expert. Dawn shares smart and easy ways to effectively use software through her work as a software speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of 8 books.

This article and more can be reprinted at no charge in your publications and website with copyright and attribution.
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