To those who have never seen the word before, the name of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, a village on the island of Anglesey, will look like something that might be typed on the screen while cleaning the keyboard with a duster. At 58 letters it is the longest place name in Europe, and one of the longest in the world. It is worth Googling the name to see a photo of the sign at the railway station, which is so long it needs five posts to support it. There is a joke associated with it where, if anything to do with Wales is being discussed, some wag will claim that they can say the name of that railway station in Wales. When invited to do so they will reply "Cardiff Central".

So imagine the chore if you had to compile a PowerPoint presentation that highlighted the attractions of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. You could save yourself a lot of time and effort by using a feature more generally associated with Microsoft Word: AutoCorrect.

You can use AutoCorrect to create an abbreviation for a long word or passage that you will be typing repeatedly. In the case above the first three letters would do the job and so instead of typing out the word in full, it would appear automatically when 'lla' was typed.

To create an AutoCorrect entry in PowerPoint 2003 go to Tools/AutoCorrect Options and select the AutoCorrect tab. In the Replace box type in your abbreviation - in this case lla. In the With box, type in the full word (or, better still, copy it from the Internet and paste it), Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Click Add and then OK.

For PowerPoint 2007, click on the Office button and then the PowerPoint Options button. Select Proofing from the list and at the top of the next screen click on AutoCorrect Options. From here the process is the same as above - enter your abbreviation in the Replace box and the full name in the With box then click Add and OK.

Whichever version you are using, it is worth noting that the AutoCorrect amendment will only happen when you hit the space bar after typing in your abbreviation.

It may be that your next PowerPoint presentation is on the town of Llandudno and, to save having to type the word out repeatedly, you would like to use the same abbreviation of lla and get AutoCorrect to do the rest. To do this you would have to remove the existing abbreviation and create a new one.

To remove the old abbreviation go to the AutoCorrect dialog box as before and in the Replace box type in your abbreviation, lla. With this entry highlighted in the list, click the Delete button. You might like to go back to your presentation and type in lla and you will see that nothing happens. Go back into the AutoCorrect dialog box and create a new abbreviation for Llandudno.

So that is how AutoCorrect can save us a lot of keystrokes, but there are more ways that this useful tool can help us. For example if we need to type in a symbol, such as a copyright sign, but we cannot remember the keyboard shortcut, then AutoCorrect will create one automatically when we type ( c ) (without the spaces). This also works with other symbols, such as trade mark ( tm ) and registered ( r ), again without the spaces. These AutoCorrect shortcuts are not confined to PowerPoint - they work in other Office applications as well.