Writing Better with Auto-Correct

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I use auto-correct in Word while writing the first draft even though I don’t edit until the first draft is complete.

Auto-correct gives you options to correct as you type – automatically capitalizing the first word in a sentence and the names of days, for example. Then there’s a list of words, symbols, and letters to replace as you type – such as inserting the trademark symbol when you type the letters tm in parentheses or changing yuo to you. The list includes many common errors, and turning auto-correct on can save you time so the program changes tellt he to tell the or teh to the.

Did you know you can customize auto-correct? If the words that you frequently misspell aren’t listed, you can add them. Just type in the way you wrongly spell the word in the “replace” field and the correct spelling in the “with” field. Of course, you’ll need to check the dictionary before you add an entry to make sure you spell it right. Otherwise, Word will “correct” it so it’s wrong every time.

You can also create abbreviations for words that you type a lot. For example, in my novels, I create abbreviations for the main characters. Just remember that the abbreviation will always be converted into the character’s name, so don’t use an abbreviation that is a real word. I learned this the hard way when I abbreviated Marilee as MA (the initials for her full name Marilee Anderson). In another document, I used MA (correctly) for Massachusetts, and Word addressed my letter to Boston, Marilee! I could use MAR, which works because auto-correct is case-sensitive. The word mar (to damage) doesn’t change; only MAR becomes Marilee. However, I find it easier to type mari and avoid using caps. This is especially helpful if you have a character with a long or difficult name. Not only does it save time but it avoids typos as well.

Learn to customize auto-correct, and you’ll write faster with fewer errors.

If only it would read my mind and insert the words I leave out …


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