AutoCorrect is a feature in Microsoft Word that you may not even realize you’re using. If, like me, you’re a sloppy typist, AutoCorrect will fix common typos (teh for the, for example) so quickly that you may not notice you’ve made a mistake. It’s also easy to configure; at least it was in Word 2007 and 2010, where you could set it to save a correction by right-clicking on a word that Word had flagged as a spelling mistake.
For reasons unknown, Microsoft has removed that feature from Word 2013, as Jerry Pournelle laments in his October Chaos Manor Reviews column. Fortunately for the sanity of Word users, there he has found a fix that is easy to implement, although it’s not quite as convenient as having it in the context menu.
First, Word has a feature I never even thought about: the Quick Access Bar. This is a series of tiny icons, by default at the top of the Word window. It’s always there, even if you make the rest of the ribbon vanish with control-F1. The Quick Access Bar has been there for a long time, certainly since Word 2007 because I see the little icons now, and in fact I often use one of them, the little curly arrow that undoes whatever you just typed. There’s also the familiar 3.5” floppy icon that now means Save, and which I still use out of habits formed back when you saved early and often or you lost your work.
There are others, but one, which is always on the far right of the Quick Access Bar, is nearly invisible. It’s a tiny hyphen above a tiny down arrow. Mousing it tells you that it’s Customize Quick Access Bar (QAB hereafter). Click it and a confusing – at least confusing to me – menu drops down. At the bottom of that is the menu item More Commands. Clicking this shows you what looks like a large list of commands you can add to the QAB. Some of them may interest you, but in fact you ain’t seen nothing yet. Above that long list of commands is another little window that has above it a label: “Choose Commands From”; this little window lets you select a source for more commands.
Choose “All Commands”, and the list of items you can add to the QAB becomes enormous. The one we’re interested in is AutoCorrect Options, which will have associated with it a little icon that contains a lightning bolt. Click on it, look over to the right for the “Add” button, click that, and Lo! That icon will appear in the list of QAB commands it shows you have enabled.
I’m glad that he wrote about his because I hadn’t noticed the loss of the context menu AutoCorrect option in my personal copy of Word 2013, but I would have found it missing fairly quickly once we get our upgrade at work. And I do have a large and lovingly customized Quick Access toolbar in my copy of Word 2010 that I will have to import or re-create once we upgrade. It’s likely that the AutoCorrect option can be added back to the spell-check context menu using VBA – a project I’ll put on my rainy afternoon list.