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Automatically Correcting?

I've come to the conclusion that the folks who build Word's feature list believe that Word can be programmed to think better than you can. The AutoCorrect feature is my proof. It causes Word to actually change the text you type.

Okay, so this feature isn't all bad. I'm always transposing characters in words as I type. I type pretty quickly and my fingers get confused. It's great to see the word "teh" converted to "the" (except when you're trying to type "teh" as an example for an article and Word just won't let you do it). But sometimes Word makes corrections that simply aren't corrections.

Here's a real-life example. While I was writing Creating Résumés, Letters, Business Cards, and Flyers in Word: Visual QuickProject Guide (hey, I just write them; I don't title them), I had to type the phrase "your My Documents folder" to refer to that place in Windows where you save documents. Just for grins, type that phrase into Word and watch what happens. That's right. It becomes "you're my Documents folder." That's not correct and it's not what I wanted. The AutoCorrect feature suddenly became the AutoError feature.

Fix that feature!

In Windows, choose AutoCorrect Options from the Tools menu and click the AutoCorrect tab:

Figure 8Figure 8

In Mac OS, choose AutoCorrect from the Tools menu and click the AutoCorrect button:

Figure 9Figure 9

In the dialog box's scrolling list, scroll down to find the word or phrase you don't want "corrected" and select it. Then click Delete. Word will no longer "correct" that "error" for you.

You can spend an hour or two scrolling through the rest of the list and removing items you don't want changed. You can even add items you do want changed. (I use this feature to automatically enter my entire name (Maria Langer) when I type in my initials (MLL).) Or, if you don't want this feature to change a single character you type, turn off the check box marked "Replace text as you type."

Two other settings in this dialog box that could preserve your sanity are:

  • Show AutoCorrect Options buttons is the same as the Paste Options buttons I whined about earlier, but it appears right after Word makes a correction. If your fingers are as confused as mine, turn this checkbox off. This option appears only for Windows users.

  • Correct TWo INitial CApitals and Capitalize first letter of sentences can be bothersome if you do a lot of writing with unusual capitalization.

When you're finished, click OK. If you've felt your sanity threatened by Word, you're now on your way to recovery.

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