Text replacement saves time and effort by automatically replacing the set acronyms with longer phrases. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to boost your productivity. While it’s commonly associated with Apple devices, you can get text replacement on Windows using built-in tools and third-party applications.
In this guide, we’ll talk about how to set up text replacement on Windows. There are also some limitations to it, so we’ll be using a third-party application to bypass them as well. By the end, you’ll be able to get Apple-like text replacement functionality on your Windows PC. Let’s begin.
Set Up Text Replacement on Windows Using Built-In Tools
One of the simplest ways to set up text replacement on Windows is by utilizing two built-in features: AutoText and AutoCorrect. AutoText allows you to create shortcuts for frequently used phrases, sentences, or paragraphs.
On the other hand, AutoCorrect is another built-in tool that corrects common spelling mistakes as you type. You can also use it to create text shortcuts. Here’s how to use both of them.
1. Use Autotext
Step 1: Launch Microsoft Word and open a blank document. Type in a phrase of your choice for which you wish to create a shortcut.
Step 2: Select the text and press Alt + F3 on your keyboard. This will open up the ‘Create New Building Block’ window. Press OK to save it.
Step 3: Your AutoText should now be saved. To use it, switch to the Insert tab on the ribbon at the top and click on Quick Parts.
Step 4: Finally, click on AutoText and then select the shortcut you saved.
Microsoft will automatically insert it at your desired location. The advantage to this is that using AutoText, you can add multiple lines, along with custom formatting, and Windows will preserve all of that.
However, it requires extra clicks. On the other hand, if you want the text to be automatically replaced, you can use AutoCorrect for that. Here’s how to go about it.
2. Create Text Replacement Shortcuts Using AutoCorrect
Step 1: Launch Microsoft Word and click on Options from the left sidebar.
Step 2: In the Word Options window, click on Proofing in the left sidebar. This will take you to the Proofing settings.
Step 3: Now, click on AutoCorrect Options.
Step 4: Check the box next to ‘Replace as you type’.
Step 5: Now, enter the keyword in the Replace section. Also, enter the keyphrase you’d like it to be replaced within the With section.
Step 6: Once done, click on Add.
And that’s it. Now, when you enter the keyword, Windows will automatically replace it with the keyphrase you specified. However, AutoCorrect works for up to 255 characters and doesn’t preserve formatting or long-form text.
Limitations of AutoText and AutoCorrect
AutoText and AutoCorrect offer a basic text expansion feature. However, these features have some limitations. Firstly, they work only within specific apps like Microsoft Word or Outlook. So, if you set up replacements there, they won’t magically work everywhere else on your computer.
Additionally, the performance isn’t that great, either. Many users complain of AutoText entries taking a few seconds to expand. This can be annoying if you’re typing quickly. As for AutoCorrect, it’s not perfect either and can sometimes make mistakes, such as replacing a correct word with a misspelled word.
So, move on to the next section for a better text replacement option on Windows.
Set Up Automatic Text Replacement on Windows Using Beeftext
Thankfully, there are better solutions to make the job easier. In this guide, we’ll use Beeftext to create text replacement shortcuts on Windows. Beeftext is a free and open-source third-party text expansion app allowing you to create complex text replacement rules that can be used in any Windows application.
Step 1: Download and install Beeftext on your Windows PC.
Step 2: Once installed, launch Beeftext.
Step 3: Now, click on Combos and select New from the drop-down list of options.
Alternatively, press the Ctrl + N keys together on your keyboard.
Step 4: Enter the full-text keyphrase for which you want to create a shortcut in the Snippet window.
Step 5: Once you’ve done that, create a shortcut or abbreviation. Enter that in the Keyword section.
Step 6: Click on OK when you’re done.
And that’s it. Your custom text replacement shortcut is ready for use on Windows. It replaces text as you type, similar to AutoCorrect offered by Windows. Additionally, it will also preserve text formatting, similar to AutoText.
One thing to note here is that your text replacement functionality will only work when the Beeftext app is running. As such, ensuring that the app auto-starts when starting Windows is advisable. To do that, open the Beeftext app and navigate to File > Preferences, and enable the checkbox next to ‘Automatically start Beeftext at login’.
FAQs on Text Replacement for Windows
AutoText is used to create shortcuts for frequently used phrases or blocks of text. AutoCorrect is used to correct common misspellings and typos automatically.
No, AutoText and AutoCorrect are only available in applications that support them. Most Microsoft Office applications support AutoText and AutoCorrect, but other applications may not
Yes, unlike AutoText and AutoCorrect, Beeftext works across applications, providing system-wide text replacement functionality.
Type Faster, Be More Productive
Text replacement is a valuable feature that can significantly improve your typing efficiency on Windows. While AutoText and AutoCorrect offer basic functionality within specific applications, Beeftext takes it further by providing system-wide text replacement akin to Apple devices. Hopefully, you can enable automatic text replacement on your Windows PC now easily.
Last updated on 16 August, 2023
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