One Simple Trick for Writing Your E-Learning Storyboards Faster

Several years ago, I did a post about how you can write storyboards faster if you type faster (to the tune of saving several weeks per year!).  But here’s a quick tip that makes you even faster—not typing at all.  You can use Microsoft Word’s AutoCorrect feature to automate phrases that you type frequently.

For example, once I have AutoCorrect set up, I can type a shortcut code (“csc”) and have it turn into a full phrase (“Type your thoughts in the space provided, and then click the Submit button to compare your answer to ours.”).  That means you only have to type three characters instead of 106 characters. When you use AutoCorrect to type frequently used phrases, not only do you spend less time typing, but you also eliminate the possibility of typos (assuming you set it up right the first time) and increase consistency of phrasing.

To set up an AutoCorrect phrase in Microsoft Word:

  1. Go to the File tab or Office button.
  2. Select Options.
  3. Click the Proofing tab.
  4. Click the AutoCorrect Options button.
  5. In the Replace field, type the “code” you want to use to trigger the full phrase.
  6. In the With field, type the full phrase.
  7. Click the Add button.
  8. Repeat steps 5–7 for additional phrases.
  9. Click OK.

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Here are a few extra tips for using AutoCorrect:

  • Use a shortcut code that is an abbreviation for the full phrase so it is easier to remember.  For example, “csc” above stands for “…click the submit button to compare…”
  • For your shortcut, use something you would not normally type.  For example, you wouldn’t want to use “submit” as a shortcut because you may need to type that word without it converting to the full phrase.
  • When you first start using AutoCorrect, keep a reference guide handy.  Eventually you will memorize the codes and won’t need it anymore.
  • Use AutoCorrect for learner instructions (“Click or tap each item to learn more.”), programmer/artist instructions (“Don’t require the student to answer before continuing.”), and even content (“personal protective equipment” in a safety course or “Click OK.” in computer training).
  • Apply simple formatting to your AutoCorrect entries.  Type and format your text in a Word document, and select it before going to AutoCorrect.  The selected text appears in the dialog box for you, and you can select the Formatted Text radio button to keep the formatting.

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  • Use AutoCorrect in Outlook as well.  By default, Outlook uses Word for its editing features, so an AutoCorrect entry set up in Word will work in Outlook.  You can use shortcuts for sign-off language, conference call numbers, links you send a lot, etc.

It may take a few minutes to set everything up, but you’ll probably make all that time back the very next time you sit down to write storyboards.

Diane Elkins
Diane Elkins leads Artisan E-Learning, a custom eLearning development company specializing in the use of rapid- development tools. Diane has been in the eLearning industry since 2001, speaks regularly at national conferences about eLearning, and is co-author of the popular E-Learning Uncovered book series.

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