How to reconfigure AutoCorrect to NOT drive you crazy

How many times has this happened to you?

You’re typing merrily along (or maybe not so merrily, but, hey, you’re typing), and whatever you’re drafting/transcribing has a list that starts with (a), then goes to (b), then to (c), etc.

And you type the open paragraph symbol, the letter “c”, and the close paragraph symbol, and as soon as you hit the space bar …

Where did that *#*@&#^! copyright symbol © come from?

Yes, AutoCorrect strikes again.  And when it’s not correct, it’s wrong.  Seriously wrong.

Fortunately, there’s a way to fix that.  I promise.

Go to the Tools menu (in 2002 and 2003 – see below for version 2007) and choose AutoCorrect Options:

Tools Menu, AutoCorrect Options selection

Here’s the Word 2007/2010 version – two steps instead of one, but you’ll get there, I promise.  First, in 2007, click the Office Button (way up there in the upper left-hand corner):

In Word 2010, you go to the File tab to get to Options:

File tab in Microsoft Word 2010

Now, in either ribbon-based version, click Word Options, then go to Proofing to see AutoCorrect Options:

Now, in all versions, you’ll see the dialog box for AutoCorrect Options:

AutoCorrect Dialog Box

See that first entry, the one that says to replace any instance of “(c)” with ©?  Let’s get rid of that bad boy: Highlight it with your mouse and click Delete.

You might as well just scroll through the list while you’re here and see if there’s anything else that’s been giving you trouble lately.  You can also add your own custom entries – stuff you misspell so often you forget how the word’s actually spelled – and AutoCorrect will fix those as you type.  Just type the misspelled version in the “Replace” field, type the correct version under “With,” then hit “Add.”

(Notice, while you’re here, that the little “emoticons” – like when you type a semicolon + a dash + a close paragraph, and you get this 😉 in your text – are also part of AutoCorrect.  Isn’t that cute?)

And before you go, be sure to uncheck any of those boxes above that look like trouble.  (Sometimes, that whole “capitalize the first letter of sentences” gets in my way, particularly when I’m typing lists of stuff.)  You can always come back here and reset anything you decide is really useful.

Now … no more mysterious characters popping up while you type!

About the Author

I spend an inordinate amount of my time playing with computers and attempting to explain technology to lawyers and law office staff. It's not always easy, but someone's got to do it.

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