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Don’t Touch That Typo!

By Vivian Manning

Want to know the single fastest way to speed up your typing? Stop manually correcting your typos as you’re writing. Just stop doing it! Correcting as you type is a surefire way to slow yourself down. It’s a classic illustration of you working for your computer, when it’s supposed to be the other way around. Ignoring your typos may be the single most difficult keyboarding change you can make. But I promise it will be worth the struggle.

Why Should You Stop?

A certain magic takes place when you ignore your typos: Your word processor’s AutoCorrect function kicks in and most typos correct themselves if you keep on typing. AutoCorrect usually launches as soon as the spacebar is pressed. Then suddenly that ugly, red-underlined *hte* magically transforms to a beautiful *the* as you continue to the next word. But you have to let it!

How to Resist the Urge

Most of us watch the monitor as we type, and those little red squiggly underlines act like beacons—drawing us toward an immediate manual correction. You can learn to resist the urge, but it’s best accomplished with some formal practice. Set aside a bit of time to force yourself to type without correction. Open a book and type a few paragraphs from it. Look at the monitor as much as you can and consciously force yourself to type through your typos. It will be difficult at first, but you’ll begin to notice that a few of your typos correct themselves. Others will remain typos, but you can catch them at the end when you spell-check your document.

Help AutoCorrect Help You

Spell-checking it is your opportunity to train AutoCorrect to catch more typos. You will either:

  • Add the word to your dictionary if it’s “real.” (Your dictionary is just a local text file, you can add as many words as you like, including formal names, without fear of overloading it.)
  • Click AutoCorrect. This is important: If the typos are real, do not just let your word processor correct them. Use AutoCorrect instead. Choose the correct word from the Suggestions list then click on AutoCorrectdo not click on Change or Change All.

The next time you typo the word, it will magically correct itself with just one simple press of your spacebar.

I know is is easier said than done to “just stop” correcting your typos. But after spending a period of time building up your AutoCorrect list—allowing it to “learn” what you want—you’ll find that you make fewer typos and save more time.

Vivian Manning is the IT Manager at Burgar Rowe PC in Barrie, Bracebridge and Cookstown, Ontario. Prior to moving into IT, Vivian practiced law at Burgar Rowe primarily in the area of municipal land development, with a total of 17 years in private practice before switching to the IT end of the law office. She currently indulges her love of teaching tech through her blog Small City Law Firm Tech.

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Categories: Daily Dispatch, Lawyer Productivity, Lawyer Time Management, Legal Technology
Originally published June 1, 2011
Last updated May 6, 2018
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Vivian Manning

Vivian Manning retired from Barriston Law LLP in Barrie, Bracebridge and Cookstown, Ontario in 2019. For more than 16 years she served as the firm’s IT manager, office manager and technology trainer. Prior to moving into IT, Vivian practiced law at Barriston LLP (formerly Burgar Rowe PC) primarily in the area of Municipal Land Development, with a total of 17 years in private practice before switching to the IT side of the law office.


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