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Friday, July 29, 2011

Proofreading Tip: Word's Typo List

Are you familiar with Word’s typo list (a.k.a. AutoCorrect)? Microsoft has a feature that automatically corrects commonly misspelled (or mistyped) words; and this feature works in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

Here’s how it works. If you type t-e-h for the, Microsoft changes the misspelled version to the when the Spacebar or Enter is pressed, or a punctuation mark is typed. Words typed without a space are also part of this list; for example, witha, forthe, and ofthe conveniently correct themselves to with a, for the, and of the while you’re typing. Microsoft helps you and me to become more accurate typists!

You can personalize this typo list for words you consistently mistype. That way, you don’t have to correct them ever again. For example, my fingers have a mind of their own; I consistently type select as s-l-e-c-t. So, I’ve added this combination to my list.

To add the typo and corrected spelling to the list from a document, follow these steps:
  1. Right-click the misspelled word (the one with the red zigzagged underline) and select AutoCorrect.
  2. If the correctly spelled word is displayed, select that word. That misspelled word has now been added to the typo list with its correct counterpart.
  3. If the correct word is not listed, select AutoCorrect Options. (The AutoCorrect dialog box displays.)
  4. Be sure there’s a check in the Replace text as you type check box.
  5. Type the incorrect spelling (slect) in the Replace text box.
  6. Press TAB key to move to the With text box.
  7. Then, type the correctly spelled word (select).
  8. Press ENTER two times.

The instructions are the same for 2003.

Another way to use this feature is to create speedwriting words. Have you created your own abbreviations or shorthand words (the olden-day version of texting) when you write in longhand? Consider the possibilities: shortcuts for frequently used company names, cities, technical and medical terminology, hard-to-type words, short phrases, and even multiple-line addresses! There is a 256-character limit, though. Finally, “texting” can be put to good use--or professional use.

With the help of AutoCorrect, you can use those same shortcuts when typing. Here’s how in 2007:
  1. Click the Office button.
  2. Click the Word Options button.
  3. Select the Proofing link on the left side of the window.
  4. Click the AutoCorrect Options button. (The AutoCorrect dialog box displays.)
  5. Follow steps 4 – 8 above, substituting the shortcut word for the incorrect spelling.

For version 2003, replace steps 1-4 with Tools from the menu, then AutoCorrect Options. Continue with step 5.

One thing to consider--don’t use abbreviations that are words themselves. For example, deter can’t be a shortcut for determine because deter is a legitimate word. This same rule applies for misspelled words. If you mistakenly type you for your, don’t use you as your misspelled word because it’ll change it every time.

One more thing--to use the abbreviation rather than the longhand version, click the Undo button or use the Undo keyboard shortcut, CTRL+Z, immediately after the word changes; then, the longhand version goes back to the abbreviation.

To delete a word combination from the AutoCorrect list, follow these steps:
  1. Follow steps 1 – 4 above (to open the AutoCorrect dialog box).
  2. Begin typing the misspelled or shortcut in the Replace text box.
  3. Click to select the combination in the list.
  4. Click Delete, and then click OK.
Isn’t technology wonderful? Just remember, when you’re typing on somebody else’s computer, you can’t use your shortcuts! Please post what shortcuts you create or have already created.

Judy Beaver, The Office Pro
Founder of National Proofreading Day

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