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Word: Automating your work with AutoText

November 29, 2008

One of Word’s most useful features is text automation. In this article, I’ll look at AutoText and some of the ways you can use it to save yourself lots of time when writing documents that have a lot of repetitive text, images, or tables.

Microsoft Word has some in-built AutoText entries, but the real value comes in creating your own. Let’s say you work for VeryBig Corporation, Inc., and you are responsible for creating a lot of documents that include the company’s name.

Notice that this company name has title capitals (as most do) as well as a capital B in the first word, and that it also has a comma after the name and a period after the Inc. Every time you type the name you have to type around 25 characters, as well as remember to press the Shift key four times to get the capitals correct.

How would you like to just press two or three keys, and get the company name correctly typed, in full, EVERY TIME? Interested? Let’s go…

Creating an AutoText entry

Word 2003

  1. Type the words, in full, with correct punctuation and case anywhere in a Word document. In the example, you would type VeryBig Corporation, Inc.
  2. Select all the words for the AutoText entry.
  3. Select Insert > AutoText > New from the menu. (Note: New is only available if you have selected some text.)
  4. In the Create AutoText window, type one or two letters to represent this AutoText entry, then click OK. In this example, you would type vbc.

The AutoText entry is now created and is ready to be inserted.

Word 2007

  1. Type the words, in full, with correct punctuation and case anywhere in a Word document. In the example, you would type VeryBig Corporation, Inc.
  2. Select all the words for the AutoText entry.
  3. Go to the Insert tab, then select Quick Parts > Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery.
  4. In the Create New Building Block window, type one or two letters to represent this AutoText entry in the Name field, select AutoText from the Gallery list, paste the text you selected at step 2 into the Description field, then click OK. In this example, you would type vbc in the Name field.

The AutoText entry is now created and is ready to be inserted.

Inserting an AutoText entry

This process is the same for Word 2003 and Word 2007.

  1. Type the AutoText entry code (for example, vbc) where you want to insert the full details.
  2. Press F3. Like magic, the words you originally typed are inserted into your document.

AutoText works wonderfully well with single words and phrases. But don’t stop there—you can also use it for entire paragraphs, images (such as logos), and tables formatted just the way you want. In fact, AutoText can be used for almost anything you can select in Word, and should be used for anything you do repetitively in Word.

[This article was first published in the December 2002 CyberText Newsletter; steps updated for Word 2003 in January 2008 and rechecked and updated for Word 2007 in September 2008]

3 comments

  1. Hi,

    I used to create autotext in word 2003 and then create a new toolbar to drag all the autotext into it.

    Now, with word 2010, although i can create autotext, but i can’t drag though autotext which i created through the customize ribbon, is there a way to do it?

    Many thanks.


  2. […] AutoText: https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2008/11/29/wordautomating-your-work-with-autotext/ […]



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