By Chris Le Roy
Whether you realise it or not, AutoCorrect in Microsoft Excel is exactly the same as in Microsoft Word, with just a few exceptions. So, if you are not aware what AutoCorrect is, let me explain… AutoCorrect is a tool that as you type will correct the most common mistakes that we make. For example, if you type in accidentally ‘cna’, the AutoCorrect function will convert the incorrectly spelt word into can. Why not try it out for yourself. Type in ‘cna’ and see what happens.
The AutoCorrect Function though is so much more than just an automatic word corrector or in essence the automated word spellchecker. It is a tool to help you be more efficient in the workplace. For example if you were writing a document or putting in information into a spreadsheet that required you to insert a copyright symbol, then you would most likely go to the Format menu and then choose the Symbol command from the drop down menu, then from the Symbols dialog box choose the Copyright symbol. Gee, what a lot of work that was. For me, way too much work!
What Microsoft has done is to program the Autocorrect Function so that we can type just a few letters and it will automatically put in the copyright symbol, for example type in (c) what you should then see is the copyright symbol. There are a number of other symbols setup to work in the same way such as the Registered Trademark Symbol ® and the Trademark Symbol ™. To enter the registered trademark symbol simply type (r) and for the Trademark Symbol type in ™. As I am sure you agree, knowing these few simple symbols can save you a lot of time however the real power of Autocorrect is with acronyms.
So what is an acronym?
Well essentially an acronym is simply a series of letters that are used which stand for a greater meaning. For example in Australia we have two terms in business, one is ABN and ACN. Well, ABN and ACN are acronyms for Australian Business Number and Australian Company Number. As you will I am sure notice is that if you had to type out Australian Business Number and Australian Company Number every single time you wanted to use those terms, you would find that you would be typing an incredible amount. So, what Microsoft has done with the AutoCorrect function is to allow you to program into AutoCorrect these acronyms so that when you type them in, they will automatically convert to the full term.
I know, I know, I hear it now. How do you do it!
Well, let me tell you. The first step you must do is to open Microsoft Excel, then goto the Tools menu and then from the Tools menu choose the AutoCorrect Options function. Now I should say the instructions I am giving to you are specifically for Microsoft Excel 2003.
A dialog box will be in front of you called the Autocorrect dialog box and if not selected, choose the Autocorrect tab. About half way down the dialog box you will see a Check Box with the text, Replace as you Type. This function is the one that will correct your spelling mistakes as you type, so if the Check Box is not selected then AutoCorrect will not work. From here, what we are going to do is to enter an acronym and have it return the full text. For example I want the Autocorrect function when I type in cjl to replace it with my full name Christopher John Le Roy. First of all I type in the acronym cjl in the Replace Text box, then in the With text box, I simply type in my full name, then to complete the process simply choose the Add button and then the OK button. You have now entered your first Autocorrect entry.
Lets try it out …
To try this out simply click in any cell and type in your acronym you used and then press the spacebar. When you do this you will find the acronym you typed in will now be the text you typed in the With text box. If it did not work then simply ensure that in the Autocorrect dialog box you have selected the Replace as you Type command.
AutoCorrect is an absolutely fantastic tool and when used in this manner can save you hours of time and frustration with acronyms. Now the really cool part about AutoCorrect in Microsoft Excel is that once you have added an AutoCorrect function in Microsoft Excel it is then available in other applications like Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint and many of the other Microsoft Office Applications.
Chris Le Roy is a Microsoft Office Specialist Master Instructor and has available Microsoft Excel Shortcuts to help you with Microsoft Excel. He also offers a correspondence course where you can earn yourself Microsoft Excel Certificates issued by his company without even leaving your home – Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet Training
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