AutoComplete in MS Word 2007

Dennis Faas's picture

Recently a reader wrote to me with an query about AutoComplete in MS Word. Below is the query:

"To insert today's date (and/or time) in Word 2007 you are supposed to be able to type the first four characters of the month and AutoComplete will assist you. This does not work for me. It is like AutoComplete is not tripped in my Word 2007. Also, when I click on Insert I find nowhere to insert the date from. I have to admit I am a fish out of water with MS Word 2007."

-- Mark

My reply:

Well Mark, you are not the only person who feels like a fish out of water with this newest version of Word but the good news is that you can quickly learn to swim!

AutoComplete has been disable in Word 2007 due to the enormous quantity of Building Blocks (the expanded successor to AutoText) that would otherwise cause AutoComplete to occur at just about all the time.

To force completion after typing the first four characters you will need to press the F3 key. This will work with any Building Block, not just AutoText. However, it will only work if there are no other entries that begin with the same four entries.

Some users are finding it useful to use AutoCorrect entries instead of AutoText entries as a work-around, and to purposely create short names that match what they were typing in Word 2003 and earlier. There is still no AutoComplete display, but typing any Word separator (space, period, comma, etc.) will trigger that automatic change from the short name to the expanded form.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Quick Parts, they have evolved from the AutoText feature that shipped with earlier versions of MS Word. With Quick Parts, you store text, graphics or anything else you have created in Word in a Quick Part and give it a name.

When you want to retrieve the Quick Part, you simply type the name you called it and press F3. Word will then replace the name with the entire contents of the Quick Part.

To create a quick part, follow the steps below:

  1. Select the text you would like to save as a Quick Part. This can include text, pictures or any other objects that Office recognizes. There is no size limit. You can actually use an entire document as a Quick Part, such as a cover letter to send out a fee agreement.
  2. Use Alt+F3 to open the Create New Building Block dialog box. This is the fastest route to creating a new Quick Part Building Block.
  3. Give your Quick Part a name. Your name can be as short or as long as you like, but short, of course is better.
  4. Type a description and if you like, select a Category for your Quick Part.
  5. Leave the Save in drop-down menu set to Building Blocks.dotx.
  6. From the Options menu, select how you want the text to appear every time you press F3.

That's pretty much all there is to it!

Regarding inserting a date into your document in MS Word 2007, follow the steps below:

For a static date:

  • Click the Insert tab.
  • In the Text area, select Date & Time.
  • Choose the format you would like.
  • Uncheck the Update automatically if it is checked. The date will be inserted into your document.

For a Dynamic Date:

  • Click the Insert tab.
  • In the Text area, select Date & Time.
  • Choose the format you would like.
  • Select Update automatically if it is not already selected.
  • This will set the date to change each day.
  • Click OK.

You can find this and many more helpful tips and tricks in Carol's upcoming book Word 2007 -- Carol's First Look.

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