AutoCorrect: Save Time and Finger Jams

Why Use Autocorrect?

When I was writing my dissertation, there were certain words my fingers just didn’t like to type. One such word was “asynchronous.” And unfortunately it was in the title of my study, and I used it A LOT. I have since found a wonderful tool embedded in Word where you can “teach” your computer to auto-correct words for you! Imagine how great it would be if all I had to do was type asy/ and “asynchronous discussions” would automatically appear. Imagine the efficiency!

What Does AutoCorrect Do?  AutoCorrect allows you to assign a “text tag” to be replaced with a text of your choosing.

How Can You Use AutoCorrect? I like to use AutoCorrect to speed up my grading. For example, when I come across a sentence where the ideas are not clear, I insert a new comment and type


and Word replaces it with

I’m not sure what this means. Please rephrase for clarity.

 See how much nicer that sounds?

Here’s another example I use a lot. (Maybe I’ve used it on one of your papers?) I type in


and Word replaces it with

This is an example of an anthropomorphism. Theories, concepts, paper sections, and literature reviews can’t “do” anything. Work on rephrasing this. See Walden Writing Center Website and this blog post

Notice I can include links? Are you starting to get a feel of the power of this tool? Read on to figure out how to make it work for you during the dissertation phase.

AutoCorrect for Dissertation Writing

How Can You Use AutoCorrect for writing your dissertation? Determine words you will be typing a lot. Consider words that always slow you down, and enter these into AutoCorrect. I’ve recently added

pedagogical = peda/
chapter = ch/
literature = lit/
quantitative = quant/
qualitative = qual/
phenomenological = phen/

Your list should be specific to your study. For example, your conceptual framework could be shortened:

Hall and Hord’s (2011) level of use model = hh/
Hudson’s (2004) five factors of mentoring model = ffm/
Gu, Zhu, and Guo’s (2013) technology acceptance model = gtam/
Keller’s (2010) ARCS motivation mode = karcs/

How do I set up Autocorrect?

For my Mac version of Word, here is how I do it.

First, type out the final text as you want it to appear. This can be a simple word, phrase or paragraph. Highlight this text.

Using AutoText to speed up the dissertation writing phase! Tips from Dr. Darci at Next, locate AutoCorrect in your menu. For me, its under Tools. Use the help feature of Word, if finding it isn’t intuitive.

Tools menu to Autocorrect

A window such as the one below, should appear. The text you pre-highlighted should automatically appear (or you can type it in here). Then you need to assign it a text tag in the “replace” box. Remember, this shouldn’t be a real word or the autocorrect will be inserting text when you don’t intend for it to be replaced. That’s why I like adding a symbol to my text tags. Enter Replace text

Finally, click Add.  Click Add.

Now you should be able to type in your text tag and it should automatically be “corrected” with your longer text.

Here’s what it looks like in action.

Things to consider:

  • The text tag you choose should not be a real word or acronym
  • Choose keys that are easy to type and to remember
  • Add a symbol to all of your text tags (you can see I’ve chosen a slash)

For your own scholarly writing, consider what words you will be typing a lot. What ways might you “teach” your word processing document to speed up your typing? I would love to hear how you decide to use this feature! Please post a comment to share!

Resources for you to learn more about Autocorrect and how to use it

Here is a pdf of this blog post: Autotext_Summer2015
AutoCorrect: The New Shorthand: Walden Writing Center Blog
Microsoft Office (for PC) Add Autotext
AutoText: Addins (multiple Word Versions)
Difference between AutoText and Autocorrect


One thought on “AutoCorrect: Save Time and Finger Jams

  1. I love your blog. 🙂 I discovered autotextexpander a few months ago and it changed my life! I use it in the same way you describe, to quickly grade papers 🙂

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