by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 20, 2014)
Longtime users of Microsoft Word are familiar with a tool known as AutoCorrect. It allows you to create a series of characters that, when typed, are automatically "corrected" to some other series of characters. Thus, you could set up the program to recognize that when you typed "tihs" you really meant "this," and it makes the change for you.
Google Docs also includes a tool that accomplishes the same task; it's name is "Automatic Substitution." You can get to this tool by clicking the Tools menu and then clicking Preferences. The tool is shown in the resulting Preferences dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1. The Preferences dialog box.
Docs includes a good number of common substitutions already, and you can easily add more. Simply use the blank boxes at the top of the list to define the pairs: On the left you enter what you want to replace and on the right you enter what you want to replace it with.
You can also "turn off" substitutions of specific pairs (use the check box to the left of the pair) or you can delete a substitution pair entirely (use the X at the right of the pair).
When you click OK to close the Preferences dialog box, your changes to the Automatic Substitution list are immediately available.
Docs is not the only Drive app that includes the Automatic Substitution tool. It is also included in Presentation. Any changes you make to the Automatic Substitution list in one app is available in the other app once you restart it.
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