Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Make AutoCorrect Pay Attention to Character Case.

Make AutoCorrect Pay Attention to Character Case

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 14, 2019)


AutoCorrect is a handy feature that helps compensate for "poor typing." (It has helped me tremendously when my fingers get mixed up on which keys should be pressed when. :>)) There are some instances when AutoCorrect can cause problems, however.

Consider the situation when you have acronyms that are the same as a commonly mistyped word. For instance, "hsa" is recognized by AutoCorrect as a mistyping, and it is automatically corrected to "has." However, HSA is also an acronym for Health Savings Account. If you really meant to type the acronym, you don't want Word to assume you made a typing error and correct it for you.

Unfortunately, there is no way to instruct AutoCorrect to ignore "mistyped" words that are typed in all uppercase. There are, however, two workarounds you can use.

The first workaround is to create a brand-new AutoCorrect entry that handles just instances where you want HSA. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box click Proofing.
  3. Click the AutoCorrect Options button. Word displays the AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  5. In the Replace box, enter "hsaa" (without the quote marks).
  6. In the With box, enter HSA, in uppercase.
  7. Click on Add. Your new AutoCorrect definition is added to those already maintained by Word.
  8. Click on OK.

At this point, every time you type "hsaa" it is replaced with HSA, and every time you type "hsa" it is replaced with "has." This works because the replacement only occurs when Word determines you've finished the word (pressing a space or punctuation mark), and once a replacement is made, Word doesn't go back and make additional replacements. Thus, HSA, as a replacement for "hsaa," is not automatically corrected to HAS.

The second workaround is to allow AutoCorrect to do its work, dutifully changing all instances of HSA to HAS. You can then create a macro that will use Find and Replace to locate all instances of the uppercase word HAS and change them to HSA. The following macro will do just that:

Sub ReplaceHAS()
    With Selection.Find
        .Text = "HAS"
        .Replacement.Text = "HSA"
        .Forward = True
        .Wrap = wdFindContinue
        .Format = False
        .MatchCase = True
        .MatchWholeWord = True
        .MatchWildcards = False
        .MatchSoundsLike = False
        .MatchAllWordForms = False
    End With
    Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
End Sub

The macro works on the entire document. You could assign it to a shortcut key or a toolbar button so that you could use it as one of the finishing steps in your editing process.


If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7549) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Make AutoCorrect Pay Attention to Character Case.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Controlling Where a Full-page Border is Printed

When you add full-page borders to your document, you may be bothered to find out that one or more sides of the border ...

Discover More

Footnotes for Chapters

Word allows you to add footnotes to your documents and configure how they are numbered. Sometimes the numbering can get a ...

Discover More

Table Won't Flow to Second Page

Have you ever created a table that never seems to flow to a second page, even when it should? This could be caused by any ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Making AutoCorrect Automatically Recognize the Replace Word

When you select some text in your document and then display the AutoCorrect dialog box, it can seem a bit odd that ...

Discover More

Automatic Initial Capitals in Tables

Have you ever started typing words in a table, only to find that Word automatically capitalizes the first word in each ...

Discover More

Forcing a Word to Lowercase

In the prose you create, you may have certain words you might always want to be lowercase, even at the beginning of ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 - 8?

2017-08-28 15:22:37

Derek Brown

Or you can just press Ctrl-Z to restore what you originally typed.

2015-06-22 10:57:07

Carl Witthoft

OK, but these workarounds are only retrospective - when some new all-caps acronym shows up, AutoCorrect will still whack it. How do we convince Redmond to include an option to stop AutoCorrect from doing anything at all with all-caps words?

2013-12-11 00:33:04

Leon Serafim

Thanks for that. I should say that the reason I hit upon using beginning and ending semicolons is that the key is right under my pinky, and I hate to reach while typing. Cheers!

2013-12-10 09:31:13

Surendera M. Bhanot

Very Good.

I use Back-slash () as post fix to an abbriviation to replace with the word or sentence I need to replace. e.g., I will use rti to be replaces as "Rignt to Information Act, 2005" (without quotes). Since Back Slash is not used by word for AutoCorrect, i find it best to go with.

2013-12-10 05:21:06

Leon Serafim

Dear Philip,
I have to define each item that I was referring to, on my own. AutoCorrect doesn't come preloaded with the stuff I was referring to. Yes, I am actually typing what I put in my note. "T;oo;ky;oo;" does not live anywhere in AutoCorrect: only ";oo;" does. And the other defined vowels with macrons. I define whatever I find convenient, and I frequently fine-tune the definitions. I would have to input thousands of individual words if I were to take the approach where a short set of keystrokes puts in a bunch more characters, like your résumé example. I DO do that for things like frequently used titles, like ;os; to get the output "Omoro Sōshi". Hope that clarifies things a bit. Sorry if it was a murky description. Hope the clarification is not also murky! ;-)

2013-12-09 12:35:23

Philip Ulanowsky

Can someone please explain this better? It makes no sense to me. Do the semi-colons activate accents in Autocorrect? I'm have no success. Surely he's not actually typing what he put above.
I have an autocorrect for the noun resume, which properly requires acute accents over both "e"s, but my autocorrect is simply "r'/" -- short and sweet, not the word plus additional letters and punctuation.

2013-12-07 20:31:49

Leon Serafim

I always use ";" to begin and end every one of my self-generated AutoCorrect items. I'm a linguist, and type a great many special characters. I don't have to worry about Word detecting a space or other "word-ender" if I use this trick, and I can be assured that no unexpected items will be generated by AutoCorrect. If I want to type "Tokyo" with macrons over the "o"-s, I just type "T;oo;ky;oo;", and AutoCorrect takes care of the rest -- no need to backspace along the way. And I can use anything I want between the semicolons. If I need a breve mark over a vowel (say "a"), I just type "a;breve;". if I need to transliterate Korean "opta" (with the breve mark over the "o") into McCune-Reischauer romanization, I just type o;breve;pta, no spacing or backspacing required. The amount of aggravation avoided is well worth the time spent making up the AutoCorrect items.

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.