Tech Tip: Speed up Common Tasks with Text Expansion

Have you ever had to compose similar email messages to multiple people? If so Text Expansion can be a wonderful time saving trick. Within a word processing or email application you can simply type a keyword or code which triggers a predefined section of text to be automatically inserted into your document or message. Once the text has been "expanded" you can customize the text for the person the message is intended for.

One of the easiest ways to use Text Expansion is to use the AutoCorrect feature in Microsoft Office. I have listed the instructions below to set up Text Expansion in Microsoft Word 2010. The steps should be similar on other versions of Word, and also in Microsoft Outlook.

  1. Type out the text that you would like to have automatically inserted when you type a designated keyword.

  2. Click the File Menu, then click Options. A new Options window will open.

  3. Click Proofing on the left hand side of the options window.

  4. Click AutoCorrect Options. Another AutoCorrect dialog will open.

  5. Midway through the dialog there will be two fields: one labeled Replace and other With. The with field will contain the text you typed earlier, although you may not be able to see all of it. Fill in the Replace field with the keyword that you would like to trigger the expansion. You will want to type a keyword that you wont trigger by accident when typing normally. We recommend 3-4 letters followed by a number (e.g. rep1)

  6. Click the Add button, then Click Ok, to close the Auto Correct Dialog, and Ok again to close the Options window.

  7. Type your keyword to try it out, then repeat for any additional common sections of text.

If you would like to learn more about Text Expansion we recommend reading the following article:
Lifehacker: How to Use Text Expansion to Save Yourself Hours of Typing Every Week ยป