Teach Outlook to Expand Shorthand and Abbreviations

Last Updated Feb 23, 2009 9:31 PM EST

My life is FOA. (Full of abbreviations.) Perhaps that wasn't a good example. Nonetheless, I'd love it if Outlook would automatically expand abbreviations I write all the time -- like DCRAA, FOBM, and WOPR --- into what they actually stand for so I could save myself a little typing. The Microsoft Office Outlook Team blog explains exactly how to make Outlook expand your private sorthand.

In a nutshell, here's what you do:

  1. In Outlook, click Tools, and then choose Options.
  2. On the Options dialog box, click the Mail Format tab and then click Editor Options.
  3. Click Proofing and click AutoCorrect Options.
  4. Now that you're in the AutoCorrect dialog box, just enter the abbreviation and what you'd like it to expand to when you type.
Here's a cool trick: Add a symbol at the end of the abbreviation, so the text only expands when you really want it to. Enter OSHA>, for example, so that it will only become "Occupational Safety and Health Administration" when you type that symbol at the end of the abbreviation.