Automating MS Word

I will confess that I am a lazy person.  I really should say that I’m always looking for an easier or faster way to accomplish tasks.  When I have a repetitive task that may be complex, I eventually begin investigating ways to avoid the task.  Enter Word automation or Word Macros.

Working with students, either with special needs or non-special needs, they have identified many of the tasks that they might automate.  A few simple skills can go a long way to improving a students’ writing experience. Reducing the number of keystrokes or mouse clicks can simplify life.

 

A simple form of automating Word is the Autocorrect feature to replace frequently used words or phrases. To simplify the number of keystrokes ( and errors) needed to enter phrases, titles and long strings of repeated text, Autocorrect is a simple solution.

In earlier versions of Office, Autocorrect was fairly easy to access under the Classic Menu.  It was located on the Tools drop-down list.

Starting with the Ribbon, accessing Autocorrect has become a multi-click process.  First in Word 2016, click the File Tab on the Menu bar (or Press the ALT key then F)

The menu tab with lots of choices will appear.  Select Options at the bottom of the list or if you’re selecting using the keyboard, press T.

A dialog box will appear showing the Word Options.  Select Proofing.

Select Proofing and AutoCorrect Options will be at the top of the choices.

Select AutoCorrect Options in the Window and the AutoCorrect Dialog box will appear.

Now we simply use the Replace With fields to substitute one character string for another.

In this case, if I’m writing a long piece on folk singer/songwriters who had an impact in the 60’s and 70’s.  I writing about Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. (Leaving On A Jet Plane) and at some point will misspell his name.  So I will choose a few letters to type and have it replaced with his full name.  In this case, I’ll use hjd in the Replace field and Henry John Deutschendorf Jr.in the With field.

The video below shows the entire sequence including how it works in Word.

One of the keys to using this is to choose a Replace string with characters that are not normally used.

If you plan to use AutoCorrect frequently, you might consider adding it as a button to the Ribbon.  That will be the next topic.