use AutoCorrect to format formulae as you write

One day a few years ago I was typing Cr2O72- and was wearily about to add the subscripts and superscripts. I thought to myself, ‘Why doesn’t Word do predictive text like my phone? If I start typing Cr2 there are not many ways I am going to complete it.’ Then I had the only Original Thought I have ever had in my life. If I type ‘seperate’ it automatically corrects to ‘separate’, so maybe I can get Cr2O72- to correct automatically to Cr2O72–. AutoCorrect has a list of words which can be added to, so I added Cr2O72- to the column on the left and Cr2O72– to the column on the right. Then, thinking that typing Cr2O72- is itself very fiddly, I added CZZ to the column on the left and Cr2O72– to the column on the right. Now when I type CZZ it AutoCorrects to Cr2O72– and when I type HCZZ it AutoCorrects to H+/Cr2O72–.

Put all your formulae into the AutoCorrect table and H2SO4 will correct to H2SO4 as you type, CuH2O4 will correct to [Cu(H2O)4(OH)2] (s) and permz will correct to permanent dipole-dipole forces. Just remember what your shortcuts are.

Adding each entry individually is laborious so use the macro here to add them in bulk. To add individually:

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. At the bottom of the list choose Options. The Word Options dialog box appears:

3. Click the Proofing category on the left then AutoCorrect Options:

4. This brings up the Autocorrect list:

5. Use Formatted text to add the superscripts and subscripts.

This process is quicker if you have AutoCorrect on the Quick Access Toolbar. Right-click on the ribbon and select Customise the Ribbon:

In Choose Commands from select Commands Not in the Ribbon:

Scroll down to AutoCorrect Options then click Add then OK:

AutoCorrect is then available with just one click.

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