Don't Forget your Willies

Using Autocorrect in Microsoft Word or Microsoft Outlook


When talking about the benefits of IT Training I often explain that it results in ‘improved results with less effort’. People frequently doubt this is possible – seeming to believe that obtaining higher standards must require more work. Not only is it possible – it is very simple once you know how. One straight forward example, which both saves time and improves accuracy is the Autocorrect tool.

It allows a user to type just a short combination of letters instead of a longer string of text. For instance, when I type SoS it is automatically replaced with Secrets of Software, and CLS appears as Chester-le-Street, avoiding any errors with spacing or capitalisation. Those who work for organisations, or belong to departments, with long titles, which they frequently have to insert have adored this simple time saving option.

You may be wondering what this has all got to do with willies?

When I introduced the idea to a recent group of clients all but one thought it was great and immediately set about debating several ways it could be used by the team.

One lady looked less than happy, explaining that she had become aware of the autocorrect function due to a most unfortunate incident. She had emailed the board of directors re an upcoming site visit. As inclement weather was forecast for the date of the trip she had added a note to say ‘Please remember to bring your wellies’.

Shocked and Confused when the chief executive replied to her email explaining that he never went anywhere without his willy - she checked the original email to reveal it actually said ‘Please remember to bring your willies’.

Not so much an auto correction as an auto embarrassment!

Anyway for those of you who would like to give it a try the instructions vary depending on which version of Microsoft you are using:

MS Word 2007 – instructions

Click the Office Button, select Word Options (where you can set your preferences for specific view, display, and editing settings). Choose Proofing and then the AutoCorrect option. Find the table which allows you to enter two values under the headings Replace and With. Enter your chosen abbreviation in the first box and the desired replacement in the second. Select Add and then Save - the window will close. 

MS Word 2010 & 2013 – instructions

Click the File Tab, select Options (which allows you to set your preferences for specific view, display and editing settings). Choose Proofing and then the AutoCorrect option. Find the table which allows you to enter two values under the headings Replace and With. Enter your chosen abbreviation in the first box and the desired replacement in the second. Select Add and then Save - the window will close.

You can also remove an auto correction. Follow the instructions above but instead of adding an entry, scroll down the existing list, select the word which you no longer wish to be replaced, press the Delete button and then OK. This will remove the selection from the autocorrect list.

Now you can wear your wellies, with or without willies!

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