From random words being added to your texts, to American spellings creeping into copy, we’ve all fallen victim to autocorrect. Read on to find out to spare your blushes from the dreaded tool, without having to give up the convenience of its spelling check prowess.

Ban certain words or phrases in Word

If you’re trying to avoid using certain, bland, everyday words like ‘nice’ or ‘very’, or you want to stop using a phrase or cliché that you trot out all the time in your writing, you can set Word to automatically replace the word or phrase every time you type it.

Click the File tab in Word, and select Options. Click Proofing on the left-hand side, then click AutoCorrect Options on the right. Under ‘Replace text as you type’ you’ll see a list of all the things AutoCorrect fixes for you. Type a word or phrase you want to avoid, along with its replacement. Click OK when you’ve finished, then close the window.

Back up AutoCorrect entries

 If you’ve been working in Word for some years and have made a lot of changes to AutoCorrect in that time, you wouldn’t want to lose that data and have to start over again. Thankfully, you can back up your AutoCorrect entries. There are two things you need to back up. First, AutoCorrect information that’s used across all Office programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and so on) is stored in files with a .acl file extension. To find these, open File Explorer, select C drive, and in the search box at the top right, search for *.acl and press enter. There will no doubt be several files you can back up (make a note of their location, so you can restore them to the same place in future). For autocorrections that are unique to Word, you’ll need to back up the Normal template. Search for a file with the DOT extension and back that up.

Delete words from AutoCorrect

AutoCorrect shares its list of words across all programs in Office. If there are certain words you don’t want Office to replace, you can remove these. Click the File tab in Word, select Options, click Proofing, then click AutoCorrect Options. Scroll down the list until you find a word (or phrase) you want to remove. Select it and click Delete. Repeat the process for any other entries, then close the window.

AutoCorrect in Android

AutoCorrect is an optional feature – if you prefer to trust your own typing, you can. The default Android keyboard lets you disable AutoCorrect, as do most on-screen keyboard alternatives. The process might vary slightly depending on which keyboard you use, but to disable the feature in the default keyboard, go to Settings | Language & input | Google Keyboard, then tap Text correction. Tap the slider to turn Auto-correction on or off.

Save time by using Text Replacement in iOS

You can save time spent typing messages on iPhones and iPads by using the built-in Text Replacement feature. Type omw, for example, and AutoCorrect will replace this with “On my way.” You can add a selection of abbreviations, and have friends’ names appear just by typing their initials. To add more entries to this, open Settings, tap Keyboard, then tap Text Replacement. Tap the plus sign at the top right, then enter the phrase you want, and the shortcut to use for it. The shortcut is optional, so you can also use the Text Replacement settings as an easy way to add new words to the dictionary.

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