If you’ve a penchant for typos or having to type the same repetitive phrases day in, day out, you’ll be eternally grateful for Word’s AutoCorrect and AutoText functions. The sad thing is, of course, that once you exit Office they’re inaccessible, which must be frustrating as you read back that horribly misspelled message in your email client or psyche yourself up to enter your address for the umpteenth time into your text editor.
The good news is that you can gain this functionality across all your apps and tools in Windows with one small, perfectly formed freeware program. Step forward, WordExpander 1.5.15.
WordExpander comes from Bartel Media, the makers of PhraseExpress. PhraseExpress has all of the functionality of WordExpander, and then some, but crucially it’s only free for personal use and is quite zealous about enforcing that rule. Thankfully there are no such restrictions with WordExpander, which might explain why it’s hidden away.
That’s a shame, because WordExpander is one useful program. Once set up, you’ll be able to watch it correct your typos from whichever application – text editor, web browser or instant messaging client – you happen to be using. You’ll also be able to get autocomplete suggestions for repetitive phrases appear as you type – just press [Shift] to accept the suggestion and the text is inserted for you.
There is a certain amount of configuration involved before you get started. Click the program’s Taskbar icon to begin and you’ll be whisked to a very well designed configuration screen sporting the ribbon interface you’ve come to love (or hate). WordExpander supports two types of libraries: AutoCorrect, where the correct spelling is paired with the typo, and Phrases, where you provide a description, shortcut key and then enter the phrase you wish to use.
Nothing is set up by default, so start by shortcutting your way to adding AutoCorrect functionality. From the Libraries tab, click AutoCorrect Library to create a new library, then click the Download Libraries button. From the website that appears, right-click the English AutoCorrections link and choose to save it – a text file – to your Downloads folder. Now, with your AutoCorrect library selected in WordExpander, click Import Library, and select the downloaded English_Autocorrections.txt file. It’s a shame this isn’t already configured for you, but it does give you the opportunity to start familiarising yourself with the program.
To start building your Phrases library, switch to the Phrases tab, click New Phrase and enter a suitable description (for reference), a shortcut key that triggers it and then type – or import – the text phrase you want to use.
It’s all very straightforward – take a trip to File tab and select Options should you want WordExpander to automatically start with Windows or tweak the Phrase Detection settings (don’t like using [Shift] to confirm a phrase? Change the key or switch EasyComplete off entirely).
Ultimately, it all adds up to an essential download if you’ve been looking to extend AutoCorrect and AutoText to any application – with no strings attached. WordExpander 1.5.15 is a freeware download for PCs running Windows XP or later.