Even the best of us make common typos – “teh”  instead of “the”, “Exchnage” instead of Exchange etc. Microsoft Word’s Autocorrect feature has mopped up a lot of the common ones – have a look if you’re interested, from the File Menu/BackStage in Word 2010, under Options…

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The same options can be accessed in Outlook 2010 from the File Menu / Options / Mail / Spelling & Autocorrect… though if you add something to the auto-correct list in Outlook, it isn’t immediately available in Word.

There are some quite cool little tricks you can type in an email or in a Word doc, to make the content look better or to make it easier for the recipient/reader to consume, and these fall into AutoCorrect although they’re more like mini-macros.

A few examples…

  • Horizontal line – see that line above? Type “---“ and press enter. Great for separating parts of your email, like the “here’s the mail I was planning to send to the partner” type messages… finish your intro blurb with a nice horizontal line and everyone will know what follows is separate…
  • Em & En – As well as being useful Scrabble words, “Em” and “En” are units of typography—an “em” being the same width as a capital letter “M” (and a space, and as the point size of the font), and an “en” being half that—which are used to measure, amongst other things, the widths of dashes.
    Whichever dash you choose is up to you and to the style guide you’re writing for (and both look so much classier than a dull old minus-sign), but the rules on how to involve them are pretty easy:
  • An Em Dash (“—“) is made by typing two hyphens (“-“) without spaces – eg em--dash
  • An En Dash (“–“) is made by typing space-two hyphens-space – eg en -- dash
  • URLs with spaces – How many times have you ever received an email with a URL which doesn’t work because it has a space in it? (such as http://sharepoint/sites//TipOWeek/Tip o the Week 15 – Show yourself.msg)? Or a UNC like \\windymiller\Video\MSFT Internal\TR10\Ballmer - Cloud.wmv ?
    If you’re ever pasting or typing in a URL which has spaces, and you want Word or Outlook to treat it properly, start with a “<” then type or paste the URL/UNC then add a “>” to the end. As soon as you press space/full-stop etc, everything between the <>s will be turned into a URL/UNC and the angle brackets are removed.
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