QuickWords (WordPerfect, all recent versions)

May 28, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Today I did a Word 2007 training at a law firm where most of the staff is still using WordPerfect. After the session ended, one of the trainees expressed an interest in learning about WordPerfect’s QuickWords feature, which he never knew about until I mentioned it to him after demonstrating a similar feature in Word (Quick Parts, called AutoText in versions prior to Word 2007).

QuickWords actually has been around for a long time. In early Windows versions of WordPerfect, the feature was known as Abbreviations. Essentially you can set up text and/or graphics that you are likely to reuse — such as boilerplate paragraphs for contracts (including a code for an automatic paragraph number) or interrogatory responses — so that you can invoke them with just a few keystrokes.

To create a QuickWord, type and select the text, including any codes (tabs or indents, automatic numbering, line spacing, etc.). It’s important to select the codes because if you don’t, the item might not be formatted the way you intend. (For instance, if you have a signature block that is indented five tab stops, you need to select in such a way as to incorporate the tab stops, or the signature block won’t be indented properly when you expand the QuickWord.) Once the text (plus codes and any graphics) is selected, click the Tools menu, QuickWords.

When the dialog opens, type an abbreviation that you will use to expand the entry. CAUTION: If you use an abbreviation that is a real word, WordPerfect will insert the entry whenever you type that word and press one of the “trigger” keys (the space bar, the Tab key, or the Enter key). In order to avoid that occurrence, you can put a character such as a backslash or an asterisk ahead of your abbreviation; when you want to insert your QuickWord entry into a document, make sure to type the backslash or asterisk, followed by the abbreviation. So, for example, if your initials are A.N.D., you can use “and” as your abbreviation if you enter it in the “Abbreviated form” field in the QuickWords/QuickCorrect dialog as *and or \and. If you use the word “and” without putting some sort of symbol ahead of it, you’ll end up using your QuickWord much more frequently than you intended.

There are two configuration options you should review before OK-ing out of the dialog. First, you’ll probably want to make sure that “Expand QuickWords as you type them” is checked. That way, your abbreviation will expand automatically when you press one of the trigger keys. If you decide to leave the box unchecked, you can expand all of the QuickWords in your document later on by running the EXPNDALL.wcm macro that comes with WordPerfect. (Tools, Macro, Play.)

Secondly, if you want the expanded abbreviation to incorporate formatting, click the Options button and make sure that “Expand as text with Formatting” is checked. If “Expland as Plain Text” is checked, the formatting will not be included in the expanded entry.

When everything is set up to your satisfaction, click OK.

Now when you type your abbreviation and press either the space bar, the Tab key, or the Enter key, the abbreviation should expand into the full QuickWord entry. (Be careful about your cursor position before you type a QuickWord. Ordinarily you will want the cursor at the left margin — not in the middle of a paragraph or indented in any way.)

Note that QuickWords are not case sensitive. If you set up a signature block and use the abbreviation “vty” (for Very truly yours), VTY and Vty (and all other permutations) will work exactly the same way as the lower-case abbreviation.

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