Word’s automatic correction tool can be used for more than simply correcting misspelled words — it can also be used to quickly insert awkward-to-reach characters. You can see this in action by typing «(c)»: Word automatically converts it to the © symbol. To see what corrections are available, and add your own, go to Tools > AutoCorrect… From here, you’ll see how AutoCorrect is already set up to automatically capitalize the days of the week, the first letter at the beginning of a sentence, and the first letter in a table cell.
What’s more, it can automatically replace text as you type. You’ll see a list of smileys, arrows, and other hard-to-reach symbols, complete with the characters you need to type to trigger them. Any «misspelled» words you’ve added to AutoCorrect appear here, too.
You can add your own here, too: in the «Replace:» box, type the letters or symbols that trigger the auto-correction, then type the character or phrase you want it replaced by into the «With:» box. To end, click Add to create the new AutoCorrect entry.
Want to set up an AutoCorrect entry for a hard-to-find character? The simplest thing is to insert that character into your document using the Media Browser — click the Symbols tab to do so. Insert it into your document, select the character, then choose Tools > AutoCorrect… and you see the «With:» box contains your selected text, ready for you to set up.
Sometimes you come across AutoCorrect entries you don’t need or want. To remove existing entries permanently, select them and click Delete. You can also edit entries if you don’t like the default trigger that Word has chosen. Just select an entry, make your change (ensuring that it doesn’t clash with any other entries, though), and click Add. You can then delete the original entry if you no longer need it, or use either trigger from then on.
It’s also possible to exclude specific items from AutoCorrect’s rules by clicking the Exceptions… button. Here, you can designate words that don’t trigger the capitalization rules. You see that examples such as «abbr.» are already set up. You can also exclude items from the Initial Caps rule — one entry («IDs») is set up by way of example. And if Word insists on auto-correcting words that aren’t misspelled because they’re similar to dictionary entries, switch to the Other Corrections tab and enter those words there to protect them.
If you need to use mathematical symbols and expressions in your documents, click the Math AutoCorrect tab under Tools > AutoCorrect… to see what’s already in place, and to add your own symbols if required. By default, Word applies these auto-corrections only within specific «math regions» of your documents, which are defined when you press Option + = to indicate you’re typing an equation into the document. You can, however, use Math AutoCorrect across your entire document — simply tick the «Use Math AutoCorrect rules outside of math regions» box.
AutoFormat as You Type
This tab determines how Word attempts to apply formatting rules to your document automatically as you type. So, if you’re frustrated by it constantly setting up automatic bulleted or numbered lists, untick the appropriate options here. This is also the place to go if you want to stop Word from converting straight quotation marks into «smart» ones, or automatically creating hyperlinks from web addresses. Tick the Headings entry if you want to create headings without having to mess around with Word’s styles. When this is enabled, type your heading (which must be five words or less with no punctuation at the end), press Return twice, and the Heading 1 style is automatically applied. To apply a Heading 2 style, press Tab before entering your text and press Return twice; for Heading 3, press Tab twice, for Heading 4, press it three times, and so on.
The simplest way to create AutoText entries is within your main document. Start by selecting the large section of text you want to be able to insert quickly. Now go to Insert > AutoText > New. Word displays a suggested «Name» for your new AutoText entry. If Word detects you typing some or all of this «Name,» the full text appears as a tooltip. You can then press Return to insert it without having to type it all out. You can go with Word’s suggestion for a Name or replace it with your own.
Click OK, and the entry is added. Test it by typing the first few characters of the Name you entered, wait for the tooltip to appear and press Return to insert it.
AutoText entries can be managed from the AutoText tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box. From here, you can delete entries, and even add them from scratch, although it’s not as convenient as doing so using the option just described, because Word doesn’t give you the opportunity to change the Name of your AutoText entry from here.