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Word's AutoText feature makes it possible to quickly insert predefined snippets of text using a menu command or Word's AutoComplete feature. I will show you some examples and then we'll see how to configure this feature. The most basic way to insert an AutoText entry is to choose it from one of the AutoText sub-menus. So come on to the Insert menu, come on down to AutoText and then choose something from one of these menus. There is a whole bunch of different options in here and what you would do is you would pick the one you want and insert it in your document.
Now that's not very exciting or very quick. After all I could have typed that faster than the time it took to use my mouse. That's where AutoComplete comes in. As you start typing one of these things, a yellow AutoComplete tip appears. If you want the word or phrase that's in the tip, just press Return when it appears and it gets typed for you. AutoComplete only appears when you type in at least 4 characters. If you ignore it and keep typing, it goes away. Now you still might not be impressed and I couldn't blame you. After all these are just simple words and phrases that are pretty quick to type.
But you can also configure AutoText with longer entries. For example, suppose you often type the phrase "E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org." Wouldn't it be nice if Word could type that for? What we'll do is we'll create a new AutoText entry with that phrase. You need to start by typing it into any document and then select it, just select it with the period. Don't include the paragraph mark at the end, unless you want that as part of the entry. I am going to choose Insert > AutoText > New.
That displays the Create New AutoText dialog. What we need to do here is we need to give that a name and the name needs to be at least 4 characters. I am going to name it "E-mail us," which is almost what's in there. Just edit it a little bit, and then click OK. Now let's give it a try. I am going to start typing E-mail us. When the AutoComplete tip appears, I'll press Return, and the text gets typed in for me. As you might imagine, you could set up entries of just about any length, making it possible to store boiler plate text within Word and call it up as needed.
Now if you've worked with AutoCorrect, you might be thinking that these two features are very similar. They are. The difference is this. AutoCorrect makes the change without giving you an option. AutoText with AutoComplete offers to make the change, but requires you to press Return to make it. Now let's take a look at how you can fine-tune the AutoText settings. Choose Insert > AutoText > AutoText. This displays the AutoCorrect dialog with the AutoText tab selected.
The top checkboxes let you enable or disable certain functions, so this checkbox here, Show AutoComplete tip for AutoText and dates, if you turn that out off, that little yellow AutoComplete tip won't appear. The next three options refer to inserting contacts from outlook. If you wanted to create AutoText entries, you can also enter them right here. You would have the text already selected, type in a name for it, and click Add. If you wanted to remove an entry, for whatever reason, you could select it and click Delete.
When you finish making changes in here, don't forget to click OK to save them. Now I will be the first to admit that I don't make much use of AutoText either alone or with AutoComplete. I find the AutoCorrect feature much more useful, but that's just me. Experiment with it to see what you think. I think you might come up with at least a few ways to use AutoText to increase your productivity when working with Word.
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