AutoCorrect features in Excel

Use this dialog box to turn off or turn on any auto-correction or auto-formatting features in Excel.

There are four tabs in the AutoCorrect dialog box. To jump quickly to the information you want, click the name below that corresponds to the tab you want help on:

AutoCorrect  |  AutoFormat As You Type | Actions  | Math AutoCorrect

AutoCorrect

You can use the AutoCorrect feature to correct typos, capitalization errors, and misspelled words, as well as automatically insert symbols and other pieces of text. By default, AutoCorrect uses a standard list of typical misspellings and symbols, but you can modify the entries in this list.

By default, Excel is set up to automatically correct some common typing mistakes. Use the options in this dialog box to turn off or alter anything you don't like.

If you don't like the AutoCorrect Options button Button image that appears while you're typing, you can use this dialog box to turn it off: Clear the check box next to Show AutoCorrect Options buttons.

You can do the following things on this tab of the dialog box. Click a heading below to expand it and see the instructions:

You can enable or disable various options for automatically correcting capitalization on the AutoCorrect tab.

Select or clear any of the following check boxes:

  • Correct TWo INitial CApitals

  • Capitalize first letter of sentences

  • Capitalize names of days

  • Correct accidental use of cAPS LOCK key

You can specify exceptions to a few of the capitalization rules. The exceptions that you set apply across all the Office programs that support the AutoCorrect feature, which means that any change you make to this list in one program also affects the other programs.

On the AutoCorrect tab, click Exceptions, and then do one of the following:

  • If you selected the Correct TWo INitial CApitals check box, and you want to prevent AutoCorrect from correcting a specific word that contains mixed uppercase and lowercase letters (such as "IDs"), click the INitial CAps tab.

    To add a word to the exception list, type the word in the box and then click Add. To delete a word, select the word and click Delete.

  • If you selected the Capitalize first letter of sentences check box, and you want to prevent AutoCorrect from capitalizing words that follow certain abbreviations (such as "appt."), click the First Letter tab.

    To add a word to the exception list, type the word in the box and then click Add. To delete a word, select the word and click Delete.

Note: In some Office programs, you can also select or clear the Automatically add words to list check box. This option takes effect while you are editing a file or an item. When AutoCorrect makes an unwanted correction, you can undo it by pressing Ctrl+Z. If the Automatically add words to list check box is selected, the unwanted corrections that you undo are added to the list of exceptions.

AutoCorrect uses two parallel lists of words. The first word is the word that you type, and the second word or phrase is what the program automatically enters to replace that word.

AutoCorrect list

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

You can add multiple entries that point to the same "With" text. For example: "youve", "you'vr", and "you'ww" can all be replaced with "you've". Just add a separate entry for each of these changes.

Important: If AutoCorrect doesn't seem to be working at all, on the AutoCorrect tab, make sure the Replace text as you type check box is selected.

Add, change, or delete an entry on the AutoCorrect list

To add an entry follow these steps:

  1. On the AutoCorrect tab, in the Replace box, type a word or phrase that you often mistype or misspell — for example, type usualy.

  2. In the With box, type the correct spelling of the word—for example, type usually.

  3. Click Add.

To change the replacement text for an entry, select it in the list of entries and type a new entry in the With box.

To delete an entry, select it in the list and click Delete.

Note: The Exceptions list tells the spellchecker not to auto-replace items it thinks are misspelled. If a word is getting automatically replaced, and you've confirmed that it's not on the AutoCorrect list, add the word to the Exceptions list to ensure the spellchecker doesn't automatically replace it.

To prevent all automatic changes and replacements that AutoCorrect would make, do the following in this dialog box:

  • Clear all the check boxes at the top of the tab to turn off all automatic capitalization.

  • Clear the Replace text as you type box to turn off all automatic text replacements.

Tip: If Office has auto corrected something for you and you didn't want that change, just click Undo or press Ctrl+Z on your keyboard to undo the change.

To insert a symbol quickly without accessing any menus, assign a keystroke or text to the symbol. This is especially handy if you plan to insert the symbol often and don't want to have to go thru the Symbols command on the ribbon each time.

You have to insert the symbol once, copy it, then add the AutoCorrect rule. Once you've completed step 8, below, you can delete the symbol you inserted to create the rule, if you want to, so don't worry too much about where you insert it.

  1. On the Insert tab, click Symbol > More Symbols.

  2. Scroll down the list, and double-click the symbol you want to use to insert it in the file. Close the symbols dialog box.

    Tip: Most of the commonly used symbols are part of the Wingdings font sets. Set the font to Wingdings in the Symbol dialog box to speed your search.

  3. Select the inserted symbol in your workbook, and click Copy from the Home tab of the ribbon (or press Ctrl+C).

  4. Click File > Options > Proofing >AutoCorrect Options.

  5. Click the With box and press Ctrl+V to paste the copied symbol into the field.

  6. In the Replace box, type a word or phrase that you want to associate with the symbol, for example, type check1.

    In the AutoCorrect tab, in the Replace box, type a word or phrase that you want to associate with the check mark symbol.
  7. Click Add > OK.

  8. Whenever you want to use the check mark symbol that you just defined, type the word that you used in step 7 to add the symbol.

Tip: If the character inserted is not the one you wanted, try highlighting the character that was inserted and make sure the font of that character is Wingdings.

AutoFormat as You Type

By default, Excel does some auto-formatting while you're typing, such as applying bullet- or numbered-list formatting when it detects that you are typing a list. 

Use this dialog box if you want to turn off any of these auto-formatting options. Clear the check box of any item for which you don't want auto-formatting done. 

Actions

There is one right-click "action" available in Excel. Turn on this action by selecting Enable additional actions in the right-click menu in this dialog box. 

The Date action allows you to right-click a full date (including month, day, and year) and open your Outlook calendar to that date. 

Ignore the Properties and More Actions buttons on the Actions tab. They don't do anything useful. 

Math AutoCorrect

To create an equation from scratch, press Alt plus the equals sign. A equation placeholder appears for you to type math characters in. 

When you're working in an equation placeholder, Office has a large set of shortcuts you can use for inserting math-specific characters. By default, these Math AutoCorrect shortcuts are turned on.

You can do the following things. Click a heading below to expand it and see the instructions:

 Clear the check box named Replace text as you type

  1. Select the item you want to change. 

    The information is added to the Replace and With boxes.

  2. Change either the shortcut in the Replace box or the symbol in the With box.

  3. Click the Replace button.

  1. Select the item you want to remove from the list.

  2. Click the Delete button.

Before you begin, you need to have copied the desired symbol to the Clipboard so that you can paste it in the dialog box. You can do this by closing the dialog box, manually inserting the symbol on a slide (Insert > Symbol) and then selecting and copying the symbol (Ctrl+C).

  1. In the Replace box, type the shortcut you want to use.

    (The shortcut should be distinct from a normal, correctly spelled word, unless you always want that word to be replaced with the symbol that you define in step 2.)

  2. In the With box, paste the symbol that you want assigned to the Math AutoCorrect shortcut you specified in step 1.

  3. Click Add.

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