How to Turn Off Irritating AutoCorrect “Smart” Replacements in MS Outlook

Microsoft Outlook’s AutoCorrect feature replaces words and phrases as you type to correct common spelling and grammatical errors. While this can help improve email quality, Outlook’s overzealous autocorrections can feel irritating or intrusive. Fortunately, you can customize or disable autocorrect in Outlook to suit your preferences.

What Causes Irritating AutoCorrect Changes

Some common triggers for annoying autocorrections include:

  • Names and Proper Nouns: Outlook automatically capitalizes what it thinks are proper names. This leads to unnecessary capitalization of random words.
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms: Outlook autocorrects abbreviations and acronyms it doesn’t recognize, changing them to something completely different.
  • Straight Quotes to Smart Quotes: Outlook loves to replace basic straight quotes with more stylistically appealing smart quotes and apostrophes. This causes issues when copying and pasting content.
  • Two Capitals to Capital then Lowercase: Outlook automatically lowercases the second capital letter when there are two capital letters in a row. This is frustrating when typing acronyms or codes in all caps.

The autocorrect changes are well-intentioned, but the overly aggressive replacements often do more harm than good.

How to Customize AutoCorrect in Outlook

You can customize what Outlook autocorrects to better match your preferences. Here’s how:

  1. Open Outlook and go to File > Options > Mail
  2. Under Compose Messages, click Editor Options
  3. Go to Proofing > AutoCorrect Options
  4. Review settings on the AutoCorrect and AutoFormat tabs
    • Uncheck boxes for unwanted replacements
    • Add exceptions for names, terms, or abbreviations you want to exclude
    • Remove entries from the replacement list
    • Add your own replacements
  5. Click OK to save changes

Customizing the AutoCorrect entries prevents Outlook from making unwanted changes to the terms you add as exceptions or remove from the list.

How to Turn Off AutoCorrect in Outlook

If you find AutoCorrect more frustrating than helpful, you can turn it off completely:

Disable AutoCorrect in Outlook Desktop App

  1. Go to File > Options > Mail
  2. Under Compose Messages, click Editor Options
  3. Go to Proofing > AutoCorrect Options
  4. On the AutoCorrect tab, uncheck Replace text as you type
  5. Click OK to save changes

Disable AutoCorrect in Outlook Web App

  1. Click the Settings icon > View all Outlook settings
  2. Go to Mail > Compose and reply
  3. Turn off Autocorrect misspelled words

With AutoCorrect disabled, you regain full control over the text you type without Outlook sneakily changing things.

Use Manual Spell Check Instead

Since completely disabling autocorrect also disables automatic spellchecking, you may want to leave it enabled but switch to triggering a manual spell check before sending each email.

Here is how to check spelling manually in Outlook:

Outlook Desktop

  • Right-click within the message body and select Spelling and Grammar
  • Or press F7 to run a spell check

Outlook Web App

  • Click the Check Spelling icon before sending

Manually checking spelling prevents errors without Outlook tampering with your typed text.

Should You Disable Outlook AutoCorrect?

Outlook’s AutoCorrect feature has good intentions by fixing common typing mistakes. However, its overzealous replacements often do more harm than good.

If you find AutoCorrect changes irritating, try customizing the list of corrections first. If overly aggressive replacements continue, disabling AutoCorrect restores full control while still allowing manual spell checking.

Carefully consider whether to disable, customize, or keep the defaults based on your email habits and preferences. With a few simple tweaks, you can stop Outlook’s autocorrect from feeling quite so irritating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does disabling AutoCorrect turn off spell check?

No, disabling AutoCorrect only stops automatic corrections as you type. You can still manually check spelling using the right-click menu or F7 key.

Can I remove smart quotes from AutoCorrect?

Yes, go to AutoCorrect Options and uncheck the box next to “Straight quotes” with “smart quotes” to prevent smart quotes from replacing regular straight quotes.

Does customizing AutoCorrect sync across my devices?

Yes, customizations to AutoCorrect sync across Outlook on all your synced devices, including desktop, web, and mobile apps.

Can I undo an AutoCorrect change?

If you catch an autocorrection right after it happens, you can press CTRL+Z to undo it. But there is no long term undo if you notice the change later. This is why disabling unwanted changes is useful.

Will turning off AutoCorrect speed up Outlook?

Marginally. By not having to process replacements on the fly, disabling AutoCorrect can slightly improve Outlook’s performance. But the difference is usually negligible.