Tip of the week # 476
13 February 2016

Stop AutoCorrect from capitalizing text following specific abbreviations (Microsoft Office) *

As you probably have noticed Microsoft Office automatically corrects typical capitalization errors. For example, it will automatically capitalize names of days and capitalize the first letter following a full stop or exclamation or question mark. But what if AutoCorrect makes an unwanted correction? You can obviously undo it by pressing CTRL + Z) (or the Undo button if you insist ;) But if you use a lot of specific acronyms or abbreviations with punctuation at the end of it, why not work with an exceptions list. (In Word and Outlook, when you undo an AutoCorrect, the unwanted corrections that you undo are automatically added to the list of exceptions.)

Here's how:

  1. On the File tab, click on Options.
  2. Click on Proofing or type the letter p. (In Outlook, click Mail, and then click Editor Options.)
  3. Click on the AutoCorrect Options button.
  4. On the AutoCorrect tab, click on the Exceptions button.
  5. Type the word - including the punctuation; for example, Cambs. - in the relevant box on the relevant tab and click on Add.
  6. Select any of the exceptions you want to remove and click Delete. (OK, I'm not a native English speaker but as far as I know, if an abbreviation consists of the first and last letters of a word, you don't need to use a full stop at the end, so you might want to delete certain exceptions such as Mr. and Dr.)
  7. Click OK (three times).

And here's something nice for a change ... the exceptions list works across MS Office. So once you've done it in Word you don't have to it in Outlook or Excel. (That said, they don't seem to end up in the list in PowerPoint.)

Finally, over the years I've encouraged you to use AutoCorrect for words you typically mistype, create abbreviations for words you use a lot or add words that contain international characters. See tip_27.html, tip_127.html and tip_229.php if you want to have another look.

* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.