Productivity Hacks Microsoft Office Autocomplete

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What if I told you there’s a way using the Autocomplete feature in Microsoft Office for you to create your own unique digital version of shorthand (a concise, fast way to write massive amounts of information) that will revolutionise your productivity.

Better still it is extremely easy to setup and will save you minutes, then hours and eventually entire days over a longer period of use.

That’s time saved that can be used elsewhere, your choice what to do with this extra time of course. Perhaps if you are still working full time it can allow you to get a few extra listings up during your lunch break or just actually finish work on time so you can hit a couple of thrift shops on the way home.

If applied correctly and refined over time you can be writing huge chunks of documents, essays, reports or even entire emails with only a few key strokes.

Sounds ambitious I know but let me give you an example of a quick basic email.

Before: Typing like normal.

Good afternoon, (Enter Key,  Enter Key)

Please find the attached documents as requested. (Enter Key,  Enter Key)

If there is anything else I can do for you please don’t hesitate to contact me. (Enter Key,  Enter Key)

Kind regards,

This is 27 words or 155 Characters typed out including the spaces (it’s easy to forget about spaces!). It took me roughly 44 seconds to type the above at a steady pace.

After: Using configured AutoComplete.

ga, (Enter Key,  Enter Key)
pfta (Enter Key,  Enter Key)
itia (Enter Key,  Enter Key)
krg, (Ctrl + Enter Key which sends the email in Outlook) 

So now:

ga = good afternoon

pfta = please find the attached documents

You get the point.

The exact same words result but now the key strokes to send the same email is reduced to only 22… That is 14.2% of the original amount. Not bad right?

It took me roughly 13 seconds to type the above after configuring autocomplete using the same steady pace.

That’s 30 seconds saved just on one email alone and no possible spelling errors because you carefully checked when setting up your text strings initially.

You will become the master creator, so you can make strings as simple or complicated as you like.

So how to make this magic happen in Windows 10:

In Outlook go to – File / Options / Mail / Spelling and Autocorrect / AutoCorrect Options

In Word go to – File / Options / Proofing / Autocorrect

Enter your shortcut text string in the “Replace” field.

Example: itia

In the “With” field type your full text string.

Using the example above: If there is anything else I can do for you please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Hit the “Add” button and you have made your first auto correct shortcut!

Now “itia” = “If there is anything else I can do for you please don’t hesitate to contact me.”

Click OK once finished adding.

Once you set this up in one app you will be able to use across all apps. For example, I setup in Microsoft Word using the “itia” example and this worked in Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook straight away. ** This may depend on what version you are using.

Repeat as required to massively speed up your writing, productivity and listing.

Formatting entire chunk of text or entire emails

It is also possible to copy an entire section of formatted text such as the email example used above and assign this to a few key strokes. I have set this up previously for frequent use emails such as a confirmation email or a booking request where the structure is always the same.

The process is just the same as above except you need to highlight and copy the entire text first prior to going into the autocomplete menu and now your copied text will be pre-selected as formatted text.

This is very similar to the concept of using an email template (which I might post about another time – I also use these) but I find these more flexible at times. Perfect examples would include policies and requirements that applied to specific goods. For example say I had some bookings to issue that required disclaimers about hazardous goods. I could simply copy the whole disclaimer paragraph and assign to to an autocomplete hotkey such being “hz”.

Now if I need to use this disclaimer on one email, I don’t need to stop, change windows to find it, then copy and paste it. Now I just type hz and there its, all done.

What Else Could I Use This For???!!

Obviously the above applies only to Microsoft Office environments and I use these on a daily basis to save massive amounts of time. After you have tried this you won’t go back.

With direct regard to reselling the same concepts can be applied using a specific tool on platforms such eBay, Etsy, Poshmark, Etc…. or even writing a blog post such as this on WordPress.

I will cover this very soon in a future post.

In the mean time have some fun with the possibilities and enjoy the time savings.

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