AutoText Behaving Erratically

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 30, 2016)

John has been working on a set of construction contract specifications (50-75 documents printed as one package). The footer for each document needs to include the exact same project description and project title. So, John made an AutoText entry for the description and the title. However, he discovered that the AutoText action was different in different documents when he tried to use it in the footers.

Sometimes John would get the normal AutoText behavior (type the first four characters of the AutoText name, and he would get a pop-up offering to insert the AutoText entry if he hit Enter). Sometimes he could not get the pop-up, but if he pressed F3, Word would insert the AutoText entry. Other times, when he pressed F3, Word said that what he typed was not a valid AutoText name.

There are a couple of things you can check. First, you should check where you placed the AutoText entry. AutoText entries are most often stored in the Normal.dot template, but they can be stored in virtually any template. If you actually stored the entry in a template other than Normal.dot, and some of your specification documents don't use that other template, then the AutoText entry won't be there.

If you did store the AutoText entry in another template, you should check to see if there is a conflicting entry in the Normal.dot template. If there is a conflict--perhaps two entries that are very close in their spelling--then AutoText may be getting confused as to which entry it should display.

You can see what AutoText entries are in which templates by using the AutoText tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box. (Choose Insert | AutoText | AutoText.) You can also use the Organizer to manage the AutoText entries in a variety of templates.

If you still encounter problems with the AutoText entry, you may choose to give up on it entirely and use a different way to achieve consistency in your footers. You can do this by putting the text you want in the footer into a text file, and then using fields to include it in your footer. Follow these general steps:

  1. Outside of Word, create a text file (using Notepad or another text editor) that contains the text you want included in the footer.
  2. Inside Word, display your footer and position the insertion point where you want the text to appear.
  3. Choose Field from the Insert menu. Word displays the Field dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Categories control is set to All so that all of the fields are listed in the dialog box.
  5. In the list of fields, choose IncludeText. The options at the right side of the dialog box change based on your selection.
  6. In the Filename or URL field, enter the full path and file name for the text file you created in step 1.
  7. Click OK.

That's it. You've now included the text in the footer. You can change the text in all your documents by just changing it in the text file. If Word is configured to update whenever you print, the field in the footer is updated (the text file is loaded anew) every time you print.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (367) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Adding Borders

Adding borders to a cell (or range of cells) is a common way to draw attention to the cell contents. Sheets provides a ...

Discover More

Turning Off Error Checking

A little green triangle in the corner of a cell means that Excel thinks there is an error with the cell contents. If those ...

Discover More

Improper Index References

When indexing a document, you may get some funny results once in a while. If you get single index entries when you were ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

MORE WORDTIPS (MENU)

Editing an AutoText Entry

Once you've created an AutoText entry, you may believe that it is "set in stone" and cannot be changed. Not so! You can ...

Discover More

Deleting Multiple AutoText Entries

AutoText is a great feature in Word; it helps you put together documents quickly. If you need to delete multiple AutoText ...

Discover More

QuickWords in Word

WordPerfect users coming to Word may miss a feature called QuickWords. This tip examines some ways you can get around the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing
Share