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Microsoft Word Quick Tips

Video: Using AutoCorrect as a Text Expander

By Deborah Savadra

If you’ve got a certain word or phrase, formatted or not, that you type over and over, and it’s driving you crazy, here’s a Microsoft Word AutoCorrect hack you’re going to love.

Hack Your Dictionary to Quickly Format or Add Repetitive Phrases

Creating legal documents often involves some really fiddly typing. Long party names, repetitive phrases, all that Latin … it can all get a little frustrating. But a lot of Word users don’t know they can hack the same dictionary Word uses to automatically correct typos and use it as an automated text expander.

Say, for example, you’re really tired of having to type and italicize the phrase “per annum.”

Type and format the phrase in a blank document the way you normally would, then select it with your mouse or keyboard. (Be careful not to pick up the end-of-paragraph marker. Just back up your selection cursor one character using Shift-Left Arrow. If you can’t see the end of paragraph marker, click the Show/Hide button in the middle of the Home tab — it’s the button that looks like a paragraph symbol.)

Then, go to File > Options > Proofing > AutoCorrect Options. On the AutoCorrect tab, you’ll see “per annum” already populated in the With field. In this instance, you want to select the radio button next to “Formatted text” to pick up the italics.

Type “per annum” in the Replace field, click the Add button, then click OK until you’re back in your document.

Now, just type “per annum” without italicizing it.

The moment you hit the space bar or Enter, AutoCorrect will replace your plain “per annum” with the italicized version.

This works for plain text, too.

If you’ve got a long name or phrase you’re tired of typing, come up with an acronym or other shorter version of it and use that as your “Replace” text. (Use something you wouldn’t type otherwise in regular text; preceding it with a symbol such as “@” is a good way to make it unique, like @address.)

Be sure to select the “plain text” radio button, then click Add and OK as before.

Of course, you can always add your frequent typos to AutoCorrect in this same way. But this hack will let you use it as a simple and handy text expander, without installing any additional software.

Click here to read Deborah’s Microsoft Office tips.

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Categories: Lawyer Productivity, Lawyer Tech Tips, Videos
Originally published September 28, 2017
Last updated January 22, 2018
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Deborah Savadra Deborah Savadra

Deborah Savadra spends a lot of her time explaining technology to lawyers, mostly as editor and chief blogger at Legal Office Guru, which features Microsoft Office video tutorials and other content especially for legal professionals. Watch her quick tips videos here, and follow her on Twitter @legalofficeguru.

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