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: Removing Confusion When Using AutoCorrect.

Removing Confusion When Using AutoCorrect

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 26, 2017)


I find the AutoCorrect feature very useful and have added extensive words and phrases to make it easier for me to type my business letters. This has led to some amusing situations. One of my employees was typing a newsletter for his baseball team. He used the word "bat" and "bats" a number of times. My business is batteries, and these are abbreviations that I set up to AutoCorrect to "battery" and "batteries". When he typed out the newsletter, he had no idea where all these words had come from. I have some other words such as "options" that insert about half a page of text. Typing my initials inserts "Yours truly," three blank lines, and then my full name and title.

To avoid confusion when using AutoCorrect (such as my employee experienced), I now append an asterisk to the end of the AutoCorrect keyword. Thus, I use "bat*" and "bats*" instead of "bat" and "bats." With no asterisk, I just get the word as it is typed. The asterisk triggers the use of the AutoCorrect feature and inserts the full text.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12547) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Removing Confusion When Using AutoCorrect.

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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What is 4 + 1?

2017-06-01 13:06:57


I use / as a prefix for my autocorrect entries.

One neat thing I found is that you can include images in autocorrect entries, so when I type /signoff, Word inserts

image of my signature (not my real one! just my e-signature)
my name
my title
my contact info

2017-05-31 16:26:33

Barb Laus

Thanks for all the help over the past ## years!

When it comes to auto correct usage............
I always use a triple letter to start off or end mine........... such as..........
refff would be replaced with "For Reference Only When Printed" or.........
yyy would be replaced with "Yours Truly, John Hancock Jr."

easier and faster to type...............

2017-05-27 08:22:18

Srinivasan k

I am using full stop(period).

2017-05-26 17:35:48

Derek Brown

Good solution, altho' an asterisk requires 2 keys to be pressed; would adding just "8" (without Shift) or some other number not work just as well? For plurals, I double the last letter of the trigger (e.g., "sw" = "switch" and "sww" = switches) and for verbs add "6" for "ing" ("cfm" = "confirm"; "cfm6" = "confirming"), "q" for "ed", "n" for "ion", "m" for "ment", etc.

I have a macro which will bring up a new screen showing the AutoCorrect trigger (if any) for text which is blocked or which the cursor is on. And a macro which prompts me to insert the beginning/middle/end of a word or phrase and then tells me the assocated trigger(s) -- often this yields a number of possibilities (for instance, many different AutoCorrect values end in "mation"), and I can then type in a short key sequence for the trigger I want and it will type in the word/phrase where the cursor is.

I also have macros which will change "ed" at the end of a word to "ing" (or other endings, or no ending), etc.

I also (using keyboard mapping) have the ability to run a macro by typing the trigger as a separate "word" and then typing "Alt-\" immediately following that trigger.

2017-05-26 08:48:16

Lew Kaye-Skinner

Instead of an asterisk, I use the greater than sign '>' because it reminds me of an arrow and because it's easier for my touch-typing. It's also a sign that almost never appears in my normal text.

2014-01-05 11:36:07

Surendera M. Bhanot

We use a common machine at home and I postfix back slash with every abbreviation I use for Autocorrect entry. My son add something different and my daughter still a different one. So there is never a conflict. Rather we can use each others autocorrect entries.

I have also added the AutoCorrect button in the QEB so that I don't have to go to whole lot of routine to open autocorrect dialogue box.

2014-01-04 11:00:44


For TextExpander on my MacBook, and for Word on my Windows box at work, I'll sometimes preface the abbreviation with ",,". So in this case, I'd code the abbreviation as ,,bats or ,,sig. It does require me to have to pause slightly but if the abbreviation is special enough, it works. Mostly, it doesn't conflict with anything else in my list.

In my job as a tech writer, I often have to write an acronym/abbreviation capitalized, except on first reference, when it has to be spelled out. So I use a tip I think I got from Woody Leonhard a decade or more ago. It works like this:

Autocorrect will change tla to TLA.

Autocorrect will change tlaf to Three-Letter Acronym (TLA) for the first reference. The "f" stands for "full" but you could use "x" for "expand." Same thing.

For acronyms that are also real words (say, an application called WIZARD), I code the Autocorrect entry as wizardd. That way, I can still refer to Oz and Gandalf without caps. And of course, wizardf expands to the full reference.

I keep an acronyms.docx at work; it's about 22 pages long and dates from when I started the job. Whenever I see a new acronym, it goes into the file and into my Autocorrect list. The doc file serves as both backup, reference (some acronyms recur but with different expansions), and something I can share with co-workers. I'd be crippled without these simple little tools.

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