The Joy of AutoCorrect


 In my job, I depend on AutoCorrect. Without it, I’d pull out my hair every time I typed choledocholithiasis or hepatosplenomegaly. There are super-duper AutoCorrect and AutoText-type programs out there for legal and medical transcriptionists. I’ve been through a few of them, but AutoCorrect is built in to Word and free. (For Scrivener, there is an AutoComplete function that sounds like the AutoText function in Word. Here: )

Tired of typing your characters’ names over and over? Writing a fantasy and making up a language or using hyphenated names? Do you have some needless words you’d like to get rid of before you run the oh-so-tiresome find/replace function?

Writers certainly don’t need a big word expansion program, and it shouldn’t take long for you to plug what you need into AutoCorrect (it’s under Tools in Word). While I use AutoCorrect for larger words and phrases for my job, I also use it for tiny repetitive words like the, and, for, is in my writing.

Here’s my small words list:

t=the                b=be                whh=which     ter=there

o=of                 wi=with           fr=from            bn=been

nd=and            h=he                bt=but              tir=their

tt=that              r=are                hv=have           hw=however

z=is                  ts=this              hd=had            wo=without

w=was             nt=not              hs=has             wn=within

f=for                ty=they            wr-were

I wrote these out on an index card and kept it by my keyboard until it just became natural to use them. Consider also that cutting keystrokes also cuts down the time it takes to type out the whole words. Not as much for writers as for transcriptionists, but there it is.

Say you’re writing a story set in New York City. Try to be consistent about abbreviations, as it’s all about making AutoCorrect second nature. So I want nycc to automatically spell out New York City for me. I use nyc to AutoCorrect to NYC every time, also, as it saves using the cap key.

There is a built in list to AutoCorrect, and it’s easy to add to it. Try to keep track of what you use, as you might need to change them later, like ch for Chicago might become ch for Charlie in a later story.

If you consistently misspell the same words, you can add those words to AutoCorrect, also. But make sure to double check the spelling or else it will spell the word wrong every time.

To deal with needless words like “very” or “but” or anything you find yourself typing that needs to be edited out later, assign them a nonsense configuration or a smiley or frowny face. Every time you type “very” you get this: L. Maybe it will stop you or make you think twice about it. Or just leave it and keep typing to come back to later.

If you really want that very, if you retype it twice, the very will stay. Or, assign it an abbreviation, to be used sparingly.

For my own sanity, I use 5* to make this * * * * * for breaks in a story.

There’s also AutoText, though with 2007, it disappeared. When you begin to type a word, it will flash that word up in a flag and pressing “enter” drops the word in. I don’t use it for writing, because it gets annoying to watch for the little flag, as it flashes quickly.

Remember to keep it simple when creating those abbreviations and soon they’ll become second nature. Sometimes just dropping out the vowels is the easiest way to go.




Best, Hel


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