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AutoCorrect hack to speed up data entry

AutoCorrect data entry hack thumb

AutoCorrect data entry hack

Today, I would like to share with you a tip which should help to save you a ton of time.  Do you ever find yourself entering the same information into Excel (or other Office applications) again and again?  It might be a supplier name, the name of an employee, column headings or the divisions of your business.  But it doesn’t have to be that way – let’s see how we can use some standard functionality in a slightly different way to help us save some time.


The AutoCorrect hack

I’m sure you’ve come across AutoCorrect before, but maybe you never knew it was there.  AutoCorrect is the feature which turns commonly miss typed words into their correct spelling.  For example, if you were to type “yuo” into Excel it will automatically change it to “you”.

Well, let’s take this feature and use it to our advantage.  As an example, we could set up an AutoCorrect so that every time we type “EOTG” it will show “Excel off The Grid”.  That’s a saving of 10 characters of typing, 70%!  That’s huge!  Just think of the long words you have to type on a regular basis.  I’m sure you could save a ton of typing time.



Set up AutoCorrect

To set-up the AutoCorrect click File -> Options from the Home Ribbon.

From the Excel Options window select Proofing -> AutoCorrect Options…

AutoCorrect - Options Proofing

In the AutoCorrect window there are two boxes to complete

  • Replace – the text you wish to type.
  • With – the text you wish to appear.

When ready click Add, then click OK to close the window.


AutoCorrect - Add New

Now go to Excel and try it out.

The data entry is case sensitive; “EOTG” is not the same as “eotg”, so make sure you set up the AutoCorrect how you wish to type.

Tips for using AutoCorrect

When using AutoCorrect with just a few initials, or where the word already exists try using an “escape character” at the start.  For example – if you work with an individual called Thomas Oughtonopolous it would not be good to use “to” as the Replace text because it is already a word.  But perhaps you could use an exclamation mark at the front, “!to”, as a way of avoiding writing an existing word.

If you require a Proper cased version of the word, when starting a sentence, for example, you will need to create two entries, one in the Proper case and one all lower case.  You just need to create a system for yourself to remember which is which.



Using with other Office applications

The great news is that Office application share the AutoCorrect library.  So, if you create an AutoCorrect in Excel it will also be present in Word, PowerPoint and Outlook.

Don’t create too many at once, as you’ll never remember them all.  To start with, just create a few, get used to using them, then once you’ve mastered those you can add more as required.


Automating the creation of new AutoCorrect entries?

David Hager has created a VBA User Defined Function to automate the creation of new AutoCorrect entries – you can read his article here.