About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

November 23, 2010

Office Tricks, again

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , — Ron @ 6:59 am

Today we will continue on with our last week’s discussion about tricks and tips for Office, which generated a lot of email, thanks!

Try this.

Open up a blank Word document and type the following sentence on a new blank line (without quotes) exactly as it appears here, without edits for spelling or capitalization. "teh cta adn teh hta cmoes bcak." Now press enter to go to the next line.

I bet you ended up with something similar to, "The cta and the hta comes back." Word automatically corrects most of the words for you. It also left two of them with red squiggly lines under them. Also, you may have one “comes” with a green squiggle. The red squiggles mean that Word could not find the word in its built-in auto-correcting dictionary. The MS dictionary has thousands of words and checks each word you type against the massive list. If the word isn’t present in the dictionary it marks it with the squiggle.

The green squiggle means that grammatically Word has an issue with the word. You handle the green ones the same as the reds. This green is unwarranted, so you must use your own brain on occasion.

To correct the spelling/grammar, use your mouse and touch (hover is the geek term) the offending word, then right click. Doing so will bring up a list of words that are close. Find the one that is correct and click it…presto, the spelling is corrected. You can easily correct the two above as "cat" and "hat." Even though Word’s grammar suggests “come” and not “comes” that is not correct.

What about the auto-corrected words? If you noticed Word also capitalized the first word in the sentence. You have just experienced another facet of Microsoft’s "Autocorrect" feature.

Go to another new line and type "(r)" with a space after it and you get the registered symbol. Try typing "(c)" and see it change to copyright symbol. Last but not least try, “:)”. Cool isn’t it?

There are many more autocorrects. Take a look at them in Word using:

Office 2010: File, Options, Proofing and then click, “AutoCorrect Options.”

Version 2007: Click the Office Orb, Word Options, Proofing and then click, “AutoCorrect Options.”

Versions 2003 and earlier: Click on Tools, “AutoCorrect Options.”


No matter which version you have you will now be at the same screen and may scroll down the list. You can play with the checked items, but be careful. None of them can destroy you, but they may make Word operate differently than you are used to.

You can add your own items to AutoCorrect. Let’s say that you always type "dog" as "dgo." In the AutoCorrect window type "dgo" in the left box under, "Replace" and then type "dog" under "With" then click the “Add” button. To finish, click OK at the bottom of the window and try it out on a document. Next time you type “dgo” it will autocorrect to “dog.”

If you wish to remove one of the items from the list just scroll down the list, select it and click the “Remove” button.

WARNING: I had an adult student once who decided to try this out at his office. The name of the company was "Arnold’s Road Equipment" (actual name of the company was changed to protect the innocent). He wanted to speed up his typing so he added "are" to be replaced by his company name. Think about that one for a couple of seconds. True story!

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