Saturday, October 6, 2007

Using Windows Mobile AutoCorrect to Automatically Replace Text

I love my Windows Mobile device, an AT&T 8525 (also known as the HTC Hermes). But as a former Blackberry user I really miss the Blackberry's AutoText feature.

AutoText allows you to enter a text string that will be replaced by another text string.

For example, if I'm driving and someone sends an email I need to reply to, I can reply with "cm" (call me) and the device would automatically change it to "Please call me on my cell at (650)555-1212."

This article explains how to achieve the same functionality on a Windows Mobile device using Windows Mobile's AutoCorrect feature.

First, ensure that you are able to view hidden files and folder in Windows Explorer. This is done on the Tools Folder Options View tab of Windows Explorer. If you have Windows XP, you will also need Microsoft ActiveSync 4.2 or better installed and configured on your computer. ActiveSync can be downloaded here. If you have Windows Vista, download and configure Windows Mobile Device Center 6.1 for Windows Vista here.


  1. Create an ActiveSync connection
  2. Click Explore in ActiveSync
  3. Navigate to your mobile device's \Windows folder
  4. Locate the autocorrect.txt file and copy it to the Desktop. Note: Your autocorrect.txt file may be named differently. Mine is named autocorrect.0409.txt
  5. Rename the autocorrect.txt file on your mobile device as a backup in case you need to restore it later
  6. Right-click the autocorrect.txt file on your Desktop and select Properties. Clear the Read-only checkbox and click OK. Note: If you don't see the autocorrect.txt file on your Desktop, it's because you aren't able to see hidden files.
  7. Open autocorrect.txt in Microsoft Excel
  8. Insert as many rows as necessary and enter your new AutoCorrect entries. Column A is the text you want to correct and column B is the corrected text. For example,
    jeff for column A and Jeff for column B. See the example below.
  9. Use Excel's data sorting feature to alphabetize the text by column A. Windows Mobile will not read the file correctly if it is not in alphabetical order.
  10. Save the autocorrect.txt file in its current format
  11. Drag and drop the autocorrect.txt file from the Desktop to the \Windows folder on the Windows Mobile device
  12. Reset the Windows Mobile device to begin using the new AutoCorrect entries. Windows Mobile reads the autocorrect.txt file at start up.

Note: Be careful not to enter a text string to replace that you might actually use. For example, if you configure "im" to be replaced by "I'm", the phrase "My IM address is jeff@expta.com" will be converted to "My I'm address is jeff@expta.com".

2:51 PM