Autocorrect and Lion: love it or hate it, but definitely watch it

Autocorrect and Lion: love it or hate it, but definitely watch it
Mac Tip #539, 06 June 2012

Sometimes as you type on a Mac using Lion you may see a small capsule of blue text appear beneath the current word. The capsule suggests what your Mac thought you intended to type. If you ignore it you may find that what ends up on the page isn’t exactly what you typed. Good thing or bad? You decide.

This Tip applies to OS X 10.7, Lion. It doesn’t necessarily apply to all apps though. Try TextEdit to test it out.

Quick Start

  1. In Lion watch the screen as you type. If a blue capsule appears below a word offering a correction to your typing press Space or Return to accept it, and Esc or just keep typing to dismiss it.

Want more detail? Read the full Tip below.

Autocorrect changes the text you type

I’m not a great typist and generally look at the keyboard and not the screen while typing. That means I miss some of what my Mac may be doing in Lion, and may find what appears on screen isn’t quite what I typed.

A new feature in Lion is Autocorrect. It makes suggestions when it thinks you’ve typed a word incorrectly, and if you go ahead and press Space the correction will replace what you typed.

Expect or expo?

Expect or expo?

For example, in the screenshot above I typed As I tyle here I expe.

The Mac didn’t correct my typo of tyle where I intended type, although the dotted red underline tells me it thinks the word is incorrect.

The blue capsule below the word expe though shows the Mac wants to autocorrect expe to expo. In fact, I was about to type the word expect.

When the blue Autocorrect capsule appears I have several courses of action open to me:

  • keep typing the word I’m in the middle of and what I type should be what appears in the final version.
  • press Space or Return. The text in the blue capsule will be accepted and will replace the word I’ve typed so far. The replacement may be underlined in green.
  • Click on the small x at the right end of the capsule or press the esc key. The suggestion disappears and whatever you’ve typed remains unchanged.
Autocorrect changed my word.

Autocorrect changed my word. The replacement now sports a dotted green underline.

Change an autocorrected word back

If a word has been autocorrected but you want your original text to stand then Control (⌃) click on the green underlined word. A menu appears and offers as one option: Change Back to [word].

Change an autocorrected word back.

Change an autocorrected word back.

To remove the autocorrection and replace it with what you originally types choose the Change Back option. The menu may also present other possibilities and you can choose one of them if you prefer.

Correct a misspelled word

Words you’ve typed that aren’t in the Mac’s Dictionary are underlined in red. Control (⌃) click on red underlined words to see a menu of possible alternatives.

Correct a misspelled word.

Correct a misspelled word.

Turn off autocorrection

Turn off Autocorrect in Lion.

Turn off Autocorrect in Lion.

Autocorrection can be very useful, but if you don’t like it, then turn it off.

  • Open System Preferences….
  • Click on Language & Text and select the Text tab.
  • Uncheck the box beside Correct spelling automatically. You may need to Quit and restart the app you’re using before this takes effect.

Autocorrect may depend on the Language options you have selected

In order to write this Tip I was experimenting with Autocorrect and couldn’t make the suggestions appear. After a while I checked my Language & TextText options in System Preferences….

I had Spelling set to Automatic by Language and within that had Māori (Library) at the top of the list.

I experimented with moving Māori (Library) around and Autocorrect came to life. I ended up with the settings the same as when I started, but now Autocorrect was working.

I speculate that some Language selections may interfere with the Autocorrect function.

What do you think of Autocorrect in Lion? Do you like it or not? Does it help you, or get in the way?

Let us know how this Tip helped you. To leave a comment if you’re reading this by email or RSS feed please visit the Tip at the MacTips website. There should be a link from the title.

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