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: Make AutoCorrect Pay Attention to Character Case.

Make AutoCorrect Pay Attention to Character Case

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 29, 2014)

AutoCorrect is a handy feature that helps compensate for "poor typing." (It has helped me tremendously when my fingers get mixed up on which keys should be pressed when. :>)) There are some instances when AutoCorrect can cause problems, however.

Consider the situation when you have acronyms that are the same as a commonly mistyped word. For instance, "hsa" is recognized by AutoCorrect as a mistyping, and it is automatically corrected to "has." However, HSA is also an acronym for Health Savings Account. If you really meant to type the acronym, you don't want Word to assume you made a typing error and correct it for you.

Unfortunately, there is no way to instruct AutoCorrect to ignore "mistyped" words that are typed in all uppercase. There are, however, two workarounds you can use.

The first workaround is to create a brand new AutoCorrect entry that handles just instances where you want HSA. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose AutoCorrect Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box, and the AutoCorrect tab should be selected. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  3. In the Replace box, enter "hsaa" (without the quote marks).
  4. In the With box, enter HSA, in uppercase.
  5. Click on Add. The new AutoCorrect entry is added to the list of entries.
  6. Click on OK.

At this point, every time you type "hsaa" it is replaced with HSA, and every time you type "hsa" it is replaced with "has." This works because the replacement only occurs when Word determines you've finished the word (pressing a space or punctuation mark), and once a replacement is made, Word doesn't go back and make additional replacements. Thus, HSA, as a replacement for "hsaa," is not automatically corrected to HAS.

The second workaround is to allow AutoCorrect to do its work, dutifully changing all instances of HSA to HAS. You can then create a macro that will use Find and Replace to locate all instances of the uppercase word HAS and change them to HSA. The following macro will do just that:

Sub ReplaceHAS()
    Selection.Find.ClearFormatting
    Selection.Find.Replacement.ClearFormatting
    With Selection.Find
        .Text = "HAS"
        .Replacement.Text = "HSA"
        .Forward = True
        .Wrap = wdFindContinue
        .Format = False
        .MatchCase = True
        .MatchWholeWord = True
        .MatchWildcards = False
        .MatchSoundsLike = False
        .MatchAllWordForms = False
    End With
    Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
End Sub

The macro works on the entire document. You could assign it to a shortcut key or a toolbar button so that you could use it as one of the finishing steps in your editing process.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (228) 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: Make AutoCorrect Pay Attention to Character Case.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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