Re: Acronyms--How often do you spell them out?

Subject: Re: Acronyms--How often do you spell them out?
From: Keri Morgret <kerilists -at- morgret -dot- net>
To: "Darges, Katherine" <katherine -dot- darges -at- defensegp -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2006 17:55:03 -0700

I can't tell you how long it took me to figure v/r out when I first started contracting out at an Air Force Base. :)

When I worked out at said Air Force Base, I worked on DITSCAP documents, a DoD-inspired nightmare that involved a ton of acronyms. We didn't have an exact rule on when we spelled out the acronym again, there were some appendixes where we let it slide, and others we spelled it out. Kinda of depended on if it was boilerplate that everyone ignored and didn't change, or if it was something people would actually read and would want to know what it meant.

Here's the technique I developed for figuring out if I had already spelled out an acronym.

1) In Word, go to Tools, Options, Spelling. Make sure Word does NOT ignore
words in uppercase or words with numbers. <most acronyms will now be
flagged as a spelling mistake - except for ones like COTS, which is a real

2) Review the document from the beginning. At the first occurrence of an
acronym, make sure the acronym is defined.

3) When the acronym is defined, if it is flagged as a spelling mistake,
right click the acronym, and select "ignore all". <all instances of this
acronym are now NOT flagged as spelling mistakes>

4) If you see an acronym that is flagged and not defined, you know you
need to define it.. if it had been defined, you would have already said
"ignore all". If you see an acronym defined that is NOT flagged as a
mistake (and is not a proper word, like COTS), you know you've already
defined the word and don't need to include the definition.

Keri Morgret

V/r (that's "Very respectfully" in Government shorthand),


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Acronyms--How often do you spell them out?: From: Darges, Katherine

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