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Spell Checkers vs. Jargon Explosion

ClipsterWhy eye halve two hate my pea seas spill chucker…

OK, that subtitle is a bit of an exaggeration. I generally do appreciate how well built-in dictionaries and style tools automatically assist with composition. But there are a few exceptions to the generally good behavior of these tools, and some of the exceptions are quite maddening.

For example, as a technology worker I am frequently exposed to new jargon. While spell checkers gracefully accept these new words when I tell them to add custom dictionary entries, there is a particular form that MS Office in particular is resistant to: words with INitial CAps.

The default behavior of Office is to assume I've made a fat-fingered typo. Admittedly, this assumption is often correct. Then it automatically converts the second capitalized letter to lower case. But where does that leave me when writing documentation for IPsec, VMware, or any of a number of new technologies that have legitimately this word form?

An easy but tiresome solution is to type Ctrl-Z (Undo) a lot, every time Office mistakenly corrects things. A better solution is to train Office how to correctly handle these words. The trick is that just making another custom dictionary entry is not enough. You need to go into the auto-correction options:

  1. In the File tab, select Options.
  2. In the left hand side of the Options window, choose Proofing.
  3. Click the button AutoCorrect Options…
  4. Click the Exceptions… button next to TWo INitial CApitals.
  5. Click the center tab, INitial CAps.
  6. Enter the technical jargon or company names that you want Office to please stop helping you with.
  7. Be sure to deselect the checkbox Automatically add words to list, or Office may start behaving as if every fat-fingered typo you make is a new valid word to be ignored.
  8. Click OK, OK, OK to close all the option windows you've drilled into.

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"Jargon Explosion" would be a good name for a band.

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