When autocorrect is a problem in Excel

By Kelly L. Williams, CPA, Ph.D.

Q. I have an Excel spreadsheet where I need to enter the ticker symbol ACN for Accenture. Excel keeps changing ACN to CAN. What can I do?

A. Most of us are familiar with how helpful autocorrect can be on our smartphones and also how annoying it can be at times. The same is true in Excel. Many times, autocorrect can save us from embarrassing mistakes, but it can also create problems when Excel thinks we are misspelling something but we aren't.

There are two ways to solve an autocorrect problem such as the one in the question above — a temporary solution and a permanent solution.

Disable autocorrect for one situation — one time

You may have a situation like wanting Excel to display the ticker ACN in a given instance but not wanting this behavior to be permanent. In order to temporarily allow ACN, type the word, click Space once, then click Undo. Or you can type ACN, then when Excel changes it, type ACN again.

Disable autocorrect for one situation — permanently

Alternatively, you may have a situation like wanting Excel to keep the ticker ACN permanently. This would be especially true if Accenture was your client and you were often including ACN in your spreadsheets. To permanently allow ACN, go to File on the Ribbon, choose Options, then Proofing. Select AutoCorrect Options and scroll down to find the word Excel is autocorrecting (in this case, ACN). Click on the word and choose Delete. Click OK.

You can access a video demonstration of disabling autocorrect for certain situations in Excel below.


About the author

Kelly L. Williams, CPA, Ph.D., MBA, is an associate professor of accounting at the Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University.


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