Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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 August 28, 2017)

7

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 and Word 2013 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()
    Selection.Find.ClearFormatting
    Selection.Find.Replacement.ClearFormatting
    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.

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, and 2013. 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. ...

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Comments

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What is 6 - 0?

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.


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