Learn This: Use Autocorrect in Microsoft Outlook, Word and Excel to Fix Your Own Common Typos

Becoming more productive is almost a lifestyle for some people.

With everyone running around trying to get more done in less time, the allure of increased efficiency drives a lot of the decision making of professionals, providers and patients alike. One area that is easy to overlook however is learning to use all of the capabilities of the tools you already have. Take software for instance: maximizing efficiency means making sure you (and your employees) are getting the most bang for your practice’s buck out of the software packages they purchase. Learn to really use the stuff you have before you request your next upgrade quote.

The other day a friend of mine asked me a question in a tone of voice that gave the impression the subject had been a persistent pain in her neck.

“Is there a way to get a to get Word to recognize that I type “anyhting” by accident every time I mean to type “anything”? I must do it twenty times a day, and having to stop and correct it is really slowing me down”

 

Say what you will about the Microsoft Office products that are commonly found in business settings – they don’t lack in features. In this case my friend had a feeling that Microsoft had something like its Autocorrect feature for your own “personal typos”.  Autocorrect is the handy feature that will turn common typos-  “teh” instead of “the” etc… – into what Microsoft assumes is what you meant to say. Autocorrect-like software is also found on most cellphones’ text messaging programs, sometimes to humorous results when the cellphone makes bad assumptions for you! But can you add your own entries to Autocorrect so that your own “anyhting”s can be taken care of instantly without effort? Yes you can!

The AutoCorrect list is global across the Office programs that support this feature, which means that when you add or delete a word from the list in one Microsoft Office program, the other Office programs are also affected.

Create or Change AutoCorrect entries in Microsoft Office 2010

  1. Click the File tab and then, under Help, click Options.
  2. If you are using Outlook 2010, click Mail and then click Spelling and AutoCorrect…For all other programs, go to step 3.
  3. Click Proofing.
  4. Click AutoCorrect Options.
  5. On the AutoCorrect tab, make sure the Replace text as you type check box is selected.
  6. In the Replace box, type a word or phrase that you often mistype or misspell — for example, type usualy.
  7. In the With box, type the correct spelling of the word — for example, type usually.
  8. Click Add.
  9. Click OK.

Create or Change AutoCorrect entries in Microsoft Office 2007

In Outlook

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. Click the Mail Format tab, and then click Editor Options.
  3. Click Proofing, and then click AutoCorrect Options.
  4. On the AutoCorrect tab, make sure the Replace text as you type check box is selected.
  5. In the Replace box, type a word or phrase that you often mistype or misspell — for example, type usualy.
  6. In the With box, type the correct spelling of the word — for example, type usually.
  7. Click Add.

In Word

  1. Optionally, if you want to add a formatted text entry, open the document that contains the text that is formatted the way that you want, and select that text.
  2. Click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click Word Options at the bottom of the window.
  3. Click Proofing.
  4. Click AutoCorrect Options.
  5. On the AutoCorrect tab, make sure the Replace text as you type check box is selected.
  6. In the Replace box, type a word or phrase that you often mistype or misspell — for example, type usualy.
  7. In the With box, type the correct spelling of the word — for example, type usually.
  8. Click Add.

Create or Change AutoCorrect entries in Microsoft Office 2003

In Outlook

  1. From the main Microsoft Outlook window, on the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Spelling tab.
  2. Click AutoCorrect Options.
  3. In the Replace box, type a word or phrase that you often mistype or misspell — for example, type usualy.
  4. In the With box, type the correct spelling of the word — for example, type usually.
  5. Click Add.

In Word

  1. On the Tools menu, click AutoCorrect Options.
  2. In the Replace box, type a word or phrase that you often mistype or misspell — for example, type usualy.
  3. In the With box, type the correct spelling of the word — for example, type usually.
  4. Click Add.

What are some of your favorite little known software tips and tricks? Share in the comments below.

 




Learn This: File Extensions and the Generation Gap

Abraham WhaleyPeople of my generation (the author is in the late afternoon of his twenties) don’t get it.  What we don’t get is how relatively new and modern personal computing technology is.  We don’t realize that we were one of the first generations to have computers in our classrooms when we started kindergarten, one of the first to have internet access in our libraries, and one of the first to have networked computer interaction as a fundamental part of our lives from a young age.  We don’t understand why other generations don’t find computing as intuitive as we do.

Learning to use computers effectively is a process of repetition, immersion, and is ideally started early in life, just like learning a new language.  I think there is both a challenge and an opportunity – for all generations – in the generational computing gap.  The younger folks who can find ways to tailor their products and services towards usability, approachability and friendliness can often make big strides in taking new technologies mainstream.  Boomers and older have tremendous opportunities to separate themselves from their peers and their competitors by balancing a willingness to be open minded about embracing technology with a keen eye towards results.

In this spirit I would like to talk about a basic computing concept: file extensions.  First, what is a computer file?

A file is a block of information which can be used in conjunction with a computer program.  A file is durable in the sense that it remains available for programs to use after the current program has finished.  Computer files are the modern counterpart of paper documents which traditionally were kept in office files, which is the source of the term.

Every word processing document, spreadsheet, Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, MP3, and video on your computer is housed in its own “file”.  A program can use these files to achieve results, such as reading or editing a word processing document, using a spreadsheet to record and predict figures, showing a presentation at a meeting or conference, or to play a song or movie.

Each of these files has a name, and that file name usually has two parts. The actual name of the file, and then, after a period, or dot, a file extension.

For example, if you open your Microsoft Windows Notepad program in the acessories section of the start menu, click on the “File” menu, and then click “Save”, you’ll will be prompted to enter a name for the file, which is called “Untitled” until you name it. But you can also see that the file will be saved with the extension “.txt”.  If you choose to name the file “agenda”, the official name of the file will be “agenda.txt”.  In newer operating systems, you rarely actually see the file extension on the screen.  In Windows XP and Vista, you will see the file represented simply as “agenda” with a small icon next to it that looks like a sheet of paper from a small notepad – the symbol for the “Microsoft Notepad” program.

File extensions are less visible these days, but knowing how to interpret them can still pay big dividends.  The file extension serves to give the computer and its operating system a sense of how to handle the file.  By putting “.txt” after “agenda” in our Notepad document, we are notifying the computer what we intend to use the file for, which programs we want to use it with, and in general, what to expect when that file is opened. It’s no different than labeling a physical file in a physical filing cabinet. If all your invoices are in red files, you don’t have to look through the blue ones when searching for one.

File extensions are helpful in the same way to the user.  When we are emailed a file, or trying to download one, the file name and the file extension are important clues as to what the file contains. If my CPA emails me a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet file, I’ll know to look for the “.xls” extension.  If my lawyer sends me a contract, it very likely will come with the extension “.doc” for a Microsoft Word Document.  On the other hand, if someone says they are sending me a picture of a waterfall, and the program has a strange extension for an image, like “.dll” or “.exe”, than I know I’m going to want to be sure this is something I can trust. From here, the only thing to really learn is what the different file extensions are.

Common Microsoft Office / Document files

File Extension Description Associated Program What is it?
.doc Document file with text formatting, often used with software’s “doc”umentation. Microsoft Word, Microsoft Wordpad Text file with formatted text.
.docx Microsoft Office 2007 OpenOffice format (without macro extensions) Microsoft Word 2007 Microsoft Word 2007 (standard)
.docm Microsoft Office 2007 OpenOffice format (with macro extensions) Microsoft Word 2007 Microsoft Word 2007 (with macro extensions)
.pdf Adobe “Portable Document Format” Adobe Reader (to view), Adobe Acrobat (to create and edit) A rich text file with extensive formatting. Often used to scan in complicated forms, or create portable, polished documents
.ppt Microsoft Powerpoint Standalone Slideshow None- the program can be run by itself, so you don’t need to have Powerpoint on the computer you’re presenting on Microsoft Powerpoint Presentation
.pptx Microsot Powerpoint 2007 OpenOffice Extension Microsoft Powerpoint 2007 Microsoft Powerpoint Presentation
.pps Microsoft Powerpoint Slideshow Microsoft Powerpoint Microsoft Powerpoint Presentation
.xls Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet
.xlsx Microsoft Excel 2007 OpenOffice Spreadsheet Microsoft Excel 2007 Spreadsheet

Common Multimedia Files

File Extension File Extension Associated Program What is it?
.asf “Advanced Streaming Format” – compressed Windows audio/visual file Windows Media Player An audio or video streamed online
.avi “Audio/Video Interleaved” animation file Windows Media Player, most any video playing software Video file
.gif “Graphics Interchange Format” Web Browser, or photo editing / viewing software Picture File
.jpeg
“Joint Photography Experts Group” image format Web Browser, or photo editing / viewing software Picture File
.jpg “Joint Photography Experts Group” image format Web Browser, or photo editing/ viewing software Picture File
.mov Apple Quicktime Movie File Apple Quicktime, other available video software Video File
.mpeg
“Moving Picture Experts Group” video format Windows Media Player, most any video playing software Video File
,mpg
“Moving Picture Experts Group video format Windows Media Player, most any video playing software Video File

Other Common File Types

File Extension Description Associated Program What is it?
.exe An EXEcutable program file. When opened, this file launches a program. Be careful! Most all programs will start with an .exe, good or bad None, it is the program A piece of software
.faq A “Frequently Asked Questions” text file, often bundled with software to answer common questions Any text editor Something good to read before you get started
.rar “Roshal Archive” compression file WinRar A “compressed” file is a large file made smaller to send over a network. The files are compressed and decompressed in a separate program (WinRar)
.txt Basic text file Any text editor The most simple form of word processing document
.zip ZIP “compression file” PKUnzip, many other available decompression programs A “compressed” file is a large file made smaller to send over a network. The files are compressed and decompressed in a separate program