Ten years ago in 2009 I wrote a blog post about how to set up auto-complete sharp, flat, and natural symbols in Microsoft Word 2007 running on Windows Vista. Here’s an update for Word 2016 on Windows 10.
Thanks to Ariel Detwiler for calling my attention to the need for an update.
How it will work
|Type this (plus space bar)||Get this|
Will it work on Office 365?
No, the web version of Office doesn’t currently (2019) support this feature.
How to set it up
- Open up a new Microsoft Word 2016 document.
- Type the following:
Then press Alt-X. The “266d” should turn into a flat symbol.
- Highlight the flat. Click the “File” tab, then “Options.” A dialog box appears; click “Proofing” at its left-hand side. Click the “AutoCorrect Options…” button. On the “AutoCorrect” tab, make sure “Replace text as you type” is checked. In the “Replace:” box, type:
Next to “With:,” make sure “Plain text” is selected. Your flat should be in the “With:” box. Click “Add,” then click “OK” twice.
- Repeat steps 2-3 for the sharp and natural signs. In step 2, use “266f” for sharp and “266e” for natural, and in step 4 use “-sharp” and “-natural.”
If you are in the habit of using the pound sign (#) and lowercase b for sharp and flat signs, shame on you for your unprofessional documents. You might be tempted to set up your AutoCorrect to correct those. The problem with doing it that way is that you will have to create a separate AutoCorrect entry for each note (Ab, Bb, Cb, etc.). Plus, it’s a good idea to just get in the habit of typing “F-sharp” so if you’re using a system that doesn’t have your special AutoCorrect set up, you will be left with that more correct version instead of a pound sign or letter b.
If you have set up the AutoCorrect but you actually want to type “-flat,” “-sharp,” or “-natural” and override the automatic change, type what you want and then press Ctrl-Z (Undo) to change the symbol back into text.