Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Unwanted Data Changes.

Unwanted Data Changes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 18, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


Have you ever been typing data into a worksheet, only to look back and find that Excel had made changes to words or letters you entered? For instance, you may have a client named Hempstead-Gorton Enterprises, and you enter their initials into a cell as HGE. When you press the space bar or move to another cell, Excel changes the initials to HE.

This is one of those cases where Excel is second-guessing you and is doing a poor job of it. What is happening is that AutoCorrect is kicking into play and sees HGE as a common typing error. Thinking that you meant to type "he," AutoCorrect makes the change for you.

If such unwanted changes are giving you the fits, you can follow these steps to correct the problem:

  1. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 or later versions display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Proofing at the left side of the screen.
  3. Click AutoCorrect Options. Excel displays the AutoCorrect dialog box.
  4. Display the AutoCorrect tab. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  6. At the bottom of the dialog box you see a list of AutoCorrect entries. Scroll through the list and select the one that is giving you problems. For instance, if you don't want "hge" corrected to "he," then locate and select the entry that has "hge" on the left and "he" on the right.
  7. Click Delete.
  8. If there are other entries you need to remove, repeat steps 5 and 6 for each of them.
  9. Click OK to dismiss the AutoCorrect dialog box.

Now you can type away without Excel incorrectly changing your acronym.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6158) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Unwanted Data Changes.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Printing a List of Named Ranges

You already know that you can define names that apply to different ranges of cells and other elements such as formulas. ...

Discover More

Removing a Bulleted or Numbered List

If you want to convert bulleted or numbered lists back to regular text (so they appear just like the rest of your ...

Discover More

Inserting the Author Name

Did you know that Word tries to keep track of who the author of a document is? This information can be easily added to ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Backing Up Your AutoCorrect Entries

Want to protect the information that you may be stored in your AutoCorrect entries? Just find a special type of file on ...

Discover More

Turning Off Automatic Capitalization

Type some information into a worksheet, and you may notice that Excel automatically capitalizes some of your information. ...

Discover More

Correcting a Capital Mistake

As you are entering data in a worksheet, Excel can monitor what you type and make corrections for common mistakes. One ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 + 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.