Tweak an annoying AutoCorrect entry instead of deleting it outright

You can delete a problematic AutoCorrect entry or you can try this case shuffling trick to have your cake and eat it too.

Word's AutoCorrect feature is helpful, most of the time. When users run into a problem, they usually delete the AutoCorrect item. For instance, if you routinely enter TEH, you could delete the AutoCorrect item that corrects TEH to THE-eliminating the problem altogether.

Deleting the item won't always be the right choice, however. The copyright symbol is a good example of an item that's useful, but that can create an unusual problem. Let's suppose you enter the phrase 501(c) a lot. Word's AutoCorrect feature automatically replaces (c) with the copyright symbol (©). You can press [Ctrl]+Z, but that gets old after awhile. You could delete the AutoCorrect item, but then you can't use it to enter a copyright symbol.

You don't have to choose, but the solution isn't intuitive. The AutoCorrect item will replace the (c) combo whether the c is lower or upper case. By adjusting the existing item to replace only (C), you can keep the AutoCorrect entry and also still enter the literal string (c). To make this change, do the following:

  1. Click the File menu, and choose Options. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2003, choose AutoCorrect Options from the Tools menu and skip to step 4.
  2. Choose Proofing in the left pane.
  3. In the AutoCorrect Options section, click AutoCorrect Options.
  4. Enter (c) in the Replace field to quickly locate the pre-defined item.
  5. Press Delete and Word will enter the copyright symbol in the With field.
  6. Change the lowercase c to an uppercase C.
  7. Click Close and then OK.

Now you have a reasonable compromise. You can type (c) without triggering the AutoCorrect change, and to enter the copyright symbol, you type (C). You can use the upper/lower case shuffle in most cases where you need to enter an AutoCorrect replace value without triggering AutoCorrect.

If you accidentally delete the actual symbol from the AutoCorrect list, you can re-enter it by holding down the [Alt] key while pressing 0169 on your numeric keyboard. (Press [NumLock] first.)


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

Editor's Picks