Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Unwanted Data Changes.

Unwanted Data Changes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 11, 2015)

Have you ever been typing data into a worksheet, only to look back and find that Excel had made changes to words or letters you entered. For instance, you may have a client named Hempstead-Gorton Enterprises, and you enter their initials into a cell as HGE. When you press the space bar or move to another cell, Excel changes the initials to HE.

This is one of those cases where Excel is second-guessing you and is doing a poor job of it. What is happening is that AutoCorrect is kicking into play, and sees HGE as a common typing error. Thinking that you meant to type "he," AutoCorrect makes the change for you.

If such unwanted changes are giving you the fits, you can follow these steps to correct the problem:

  1. Choose AutoCorrect Options from the Tools menu. Excel displays the AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  3. At the bottom of the dialog box you see a list of AutoCorrect entries. Scroll through the list and select the one that is giving you problems. For instance, if you don't want "hge" corrected to "he," then locate and select the entry that has "hge" on the left and "he" on the right.
  4. Click Delete.
  5. If there are other entries you need to remove, repeat steps 2 and 3 for each of them.
  6. Click OK to dismiss the AutoCorrect dialog box.

Now you can type away without Excel incorrectly changing your acronym.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3334) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Unwanted Data Changes.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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