Correcting Capitalization with AutoCorrect

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 24, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


When Sarah writes a letter, she often types "HI John" instead of "Hi John." She's looked at using AutoCorrect to sort the capitalization for me, but if she replaces "HI" with "Hi" across the board, then words like HISTORY become HiSTORY. She can't AutoCorrect "HI+space" to "Hi+space," because AutoCorrect won't let her save an entry that includes spaces. She wonders if there is a technical way to correct for her typing issue.

First of all, there are a few misconceptions that Sarah has about AutoCorrect. So, it might be helpful to have a short refresher on how it works.

It is true that you cannot create an AutoCorrect entry that includes a space. This is because AutoCorrect jumps into action when you type something that completes a word, such as a space or a punctuation mark. Interestingly, though, even though a punctuation mark triggers AutoCorrect, you can include some punctuation marks in AutoCorrect entries. You cannot, though, include a space; it is verboten. Go figure!

Because spaces and punctuation marks are the triggers, non-spaces and non-punctuation marks are not triggers. This means that creating an AutoCorrect entry that changes "HI" to "Hi" will not change instances of "HISTORY" to "HiSTORY" because the "S" doesn't trigger AutoCorrect. Plus, when you type the space or a punctuation mark at the end of "HISTORY" (thereby triggering AutoCorrect), no change will be made because "HISTORY" doesn't match "HI."

What such an AutoCorrect entry would do, however, would be to change the abbreviation "HI" (for Hawaii) to "Hi." Depending on the content you normally type, this may be an acceptable tradeoff, though.

Perhaps a better solution would be to change what you type just a bit. In the salutation "Hi John," there should actually be a comma after "Hi" so it becomes "Hi, John." And, as already mentioned, Word allows you to add punctuation marks to AutoCorrect entries. This means you can create one that replaces "HI," with "Hi," in order to get what you want. Plus, it won't affect the abbreviation for Hawaii at all. It also wouldn't affect "HI" followed by any other punctuation mark—just if it has a terminating comma.

There is one other thing that should be mentioned. It is possible that if you type "HIstory," it will be corrected to "History" automatically. This is not the result of an AutoCorrect entry, but instead is the result of an AutoCorrect setting. On the AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box (the same place you create AutoText entries), there is a setting called "Correct TWo INitial Capitals." If this is selected, then typing "HIstory" and pressing a space or punctuation mark will correct the world to "History." This setting will not, however, affect two-letter words, which is why it won't change "HI" to "Hi." It also would not change "HISTORY" to "History," as completely capitalized words are also not affected by the setting.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13886) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

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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