If you find yourself typing the same phrases or terms, and some of these may be quite long, like a company name:
ACME Sprockets and Widgets, Inc.
Think of how much time added up over a year that you would spend typing this company name potentially thousands of times. And better yet, think of the number of instances where you make a small, unseen typo.
Wouldn’t it be nice to type something like “ASW”, press enter, and the computer changes that to “ACME Sprockets and Widgets, Inc.”?
Think of all the abbreviations you could type that could be automatically converted to the full-length version.
(See the end of this post for a recitation on the difference between abbreviations, initialisms, and acronyms. It’s more interesting than you may think.)
This automatic conversion is handled by the same feature that corrects many of the more common spelling errors, like converting “teh” to “the”: the AutoCorrect feature.
To add an abbreviation and its corresponding full form, perform the following steps:
- Click File (tab).
- Click Options (bottom-left of the window)
- Click the Proofing category (on the left side of the Excel Options window)
- In the section labeled AutoCorrect Options, click the button labeled “AutoCorrect Options…”.
- On the AutoCorrect tab, enter the abbreviation for the phrase in the “Replace:” field, and the full version of the phrase in the “With:” field.
- Click Add to add the entry to the AutoCorrect library.
Test your abbreviation by selecting a cell and typing the short form version. Pressing ENTER (or Space) should reveal the long-form version.
PRO TIP: If you have a long phrase where sometimes you wish to use the shorter, abbreviated version (like “MSDN”) but other times you want the fleshed-out version (like “Microsoft Developer Network”), enter the shortcut in the AutoCorrect library with a small modifier, like an “x” on the end (ex: “msdnx”).
This way, if you want the abbreviation, you will type “MSDN” as you normally would, but when you want the long version, you will type “msdnx”.
Typing this additional character (or not) allows you to quickly choose between the two variants.
I like to think of the “x” as standing for “eXpanded”. In other words, “Give me the expanded version of ‘bla-bla’”.