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Extra Spaces after AutoText Substitutions

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Extra Spaces after Inserting a Building Block.

Dave is having a problem with substitutions done by AutoText. He has defined a series of AutoText entries that he uses for some common terms. For instance, he has set up an AutoText entry so that gov is replaced with governor and another to replace ctte with committee. Dave uses these by simply typing the shortened version (gov or ctte) and pressing F3 to do the substitution.

When Dave wants to type plural versions of his words (governors or committees), he types the shortened version (gov or ctte), presses F3, and then types the letter s. A problem crops up when doing this, because sometimes there is an extra space added after the AutoText substitution, such that he ends up with "committee s" instead of "committees."

This problem can be rooted in how the AutoText entries were first defined. It is not unusual to select a word (or words) and then press Alt+F3 to define the AutoText entry. If you are not careful, you might select a trailing space with the word or words, and then this trailing space becomes part of the AutoText definition. This can happen if you double-click a word and then (if you want to select multiple words) drag the mouse; Word automatically selects any trailing spaces when selecting in this manner.

The solution is to position the insertion point before the word or words you want to select and then hold down the Shift key as you use the arrow keys to select exactly what you want, without the trailing space. You can then assign this to your AutoText entry, and you should not run into the problem of extra spaces during the substitutions.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (309) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Extra Spaces after Inserting a Building Block.

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