MS Word Autocorrect

Way With Words
Software Feature


Setting up proper Autocorrect shortcuts is like having a neat kitchen or office: it takes a bit of time in the beginning, but it can save you hours of time in the long run.

Naturally, those of us in Ops at Way With Words have a vested interest in making you transcribe faster, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea for you, too. As we saw from Sue’s excellent interview, keystrokes saved translate to greater speed and more money earned for time spent.

Let’s begin by setting up the terms Sue recommends to begin with: “you know”, “sort of”, “kind of” and “all right”.

  1. Open Microsoft Word.
  2. Click on ‘File’, then choose ‘options’ and then ‘proofing’. “Autocorrect options” is what we’re after, right at the top of the page.
  3. Now a dialogue box will open up. In it you will see two boxes, one marked ‘Replace’ and the other marked ‘with’. Now type ‘yk’ in the ‘Replace’ box and the phrase ‘you know’ in the ‘With’ box. From now on, whenever you type ‘yk’ and press space, it will automatically be replaced by ‘you know’.

Repeat the process with the other words, using ‘kf’ for ‘kind of’, ‘ar’ for all right, and ‘sf’ for ‘sort of’. You don’t want to use ‘so’ because then Word will replace all instances of ‘so’ with ‘sort of’, with hilarious results.

Another instance of an occasion when it’s a good idea to use Autocorrect is when you know a word is going to crop up multiple times in a transcript. Let’s say you’re transcribing a medical conference for cardiac physicians. You’re five minutes in and you’ve had to type the phrase ‘cardiopulmonary abnormalities’ more than five times already. Chances are good you’re going to have to type it again, and often. It’s easy to make a quick autocorrect for this phrase and save yourself the trouble of having to type it out the long way.

Don’t use common combinations of letters. If  you make the ‘cardiopulmonary abnormalities’ autocorrect ‘ca’ for example, you won’t be able to type out CA $ in your financial transcripts without something going wrong.

Getting rid of an autocorrect function

Sometimes you only want an autocorrect function around for the duration of one file, or a series thereof. Sometimes you mess up, and assign an autocorrect function to a combination of letters that are typed often in other contexts. To delete an autocorrect function and have my Word return to what passes for normal, you’d go through the following process:

  1. Open Microsoft Word.
  2. Click on ‘File’, then choose ‘options’ and then ‘proofing’. “Autocorrect options” is what we’re after, again.
  3. Under the ‘Replace/With’ dialogue box, is a list of all your autocorrect functions. Simply search for the phrase in question and press ‘delete’. It’s that easy.

What if I have a Jurassic edition of Word?

Other, older versions of Word may have a different procedure. On Word 2002, for example, to get to Autocorrect, you go to ‘Insert’ at the top of the page, choose ‘Autotext’ and then ‘Autocorrect’. After that , the procedure is identical.

What about Open Office?

In Open Office, this is even easier. Just click on Tools, go to Autocorrect Options, and you’re right there.

In conclusion, autocorrect is like your foot-pedal: it’s not going to magically turn a slow transcriber into a fast one, but it will help. It’s a necessary weapon in your arsenal, just one more thing to help tip the scales in your favour.

Anything that helps you exchange time for words typed more efficiently is going to help you work faster. And that’s good for you and Way With Words.

Suggested Autocorrects:

Feel free to copy and paste the autocorrects below.

uu         [unclear]

ov         [overtalking]

il           [inaudible]

th          thousand

ez          eurozone

Thanks to Mags for originally showing me how to use Autocorrect, and to Sue Shackles for highlighting its importance.


5 thoughts on “How to use Autocorrect”

  1. Thanks for this simple but helpful guide. I never knew Open office used the same and what a lot of time saving! Question though, what is the alternative when using Apple word processors? Any? I’m thinking of going onto a Mac so am trying to find out more before. tx

  2. I have not found this feature useful. It doesn’t work for me even though I tried it a few times in the past. Is there other software one can add rather than this, anyone?

  3. I use autocorrect all the time. My favourite is wim which becomes do you know what I mean? ptcy becomes particularly; itv becomes initiative; tss is replaced by: and all that sort of stuff; brt becomes brilliant; bcy becomes bureaucracy; ay becomes absolutely; dy becomes definitely; etd becomes at the end of the day; sz becomes schizophrenia; vtb becomes vertebroplasty; mvl becomes manoeuvrability. The possibilities are endless; I have a list next to my keyboard and every time I create a new autocorrect I add it to my list in alphabetical sequence.

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