Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Adding Ampersands to Custom Dictionaries.

Adding Ampersands to Custom Dictionaries

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 31, 2020)

Richard is using the corporate name "at&t" in a document. Word does not like the lowercase name and wants to capitalize it. The wavy green line indicates a grammar issue, and Richard cannot find a way to fix this. He tried editing the custom dictionary but the dictionary would not accept words with ampersands.

It could be that Word kept suggesting capitalizing the name because it really should be capitalized. While the letters "at&t" are used in lowercase in some advertising for the corporate behemoth, it appears that the name really is uppercase. (See the www.att.com Website for examples of this.)

That being said, if you really want to make the letters lowercase without getting any notation that this is incorrect, there are a couple of things you can try. First, and perhaps easiest, is to simply add the letters to the dictionary. Don't do it by trying to add the letters directly, but instead type them in the document, do a spell check, and when the letters are displayed as an error, try to add them at that point. This approach lets Word deal with how the letters should be specifically added to the dictionary.

If this doesn't work for some reason, you can employ AutoCorrect to help you out. Follow these general steps:

  1. Type "at&t" (without the quotes) and select it.
  2. Mark the selection so that it is not checked for spelling or grammar.
  3. With the "at&t" still selected, display the AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box. (You are going to create a new AuotCorrect entry.) The selected text should be displayed in the Replace With box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  5. In the Replace box, enter "at&t", without the quotes.
  6. Click the Formatted Text radio button. It is important that this radio button be selected.
  7. Click the Add button to create the AutoCorrect entry, and then close the dialog box.

Now, when you type at&t, AutoCorrect kicks in and replaces the letters with the formatted version. How are they formatted? To ignore spelling and grammar checks, so the wavy underlines never appear.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11205) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Adding Ampersands to Custom Dictionaries.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Invisible Macros

When configuring Word, you may want to add macros to either menus or toolbars. If you can't find your macros while doing ...

Discover More

Understanding Date and Time Formatting Codes

Want to apply a custom format to your dates and times? To do it effectively you need to understand the custom formatting ...

Discover More

Conditional Printing

If you need to make what Excel prints be based upon conditions in a worksheet, you'll love the information in this tip. ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Catching Single-Letter Spelling Errors

There have been times when I've reviewed my writing and found lots of "lone letters," detached by a single space from the ...

Discover More

Making Spell Check Ignore Characters

The rules of professional editing often require that editorial changes in a quote be noted with brackets. These brackets, ...

Discover More

Spell-Checking Abbreviations

Need to make sure that Word includes abbreviations when you check a document's spelling? Here's how to make sure that ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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 5 - 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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
Subscribe

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.