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3 Time-saving Hacks for SLPs I’ll Bet You Don’t Know.

3 Time-saving hacks for SLPs I'll bet you didn't know  #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #slporganization  #productivity
Discover hidden features of  Microsoft Office- hacks that will help SLPs get work done faster!

I was so excited when I figured out these time-saving hacks!

Of course, the first thing I wanted to do was share it with you.  If you use Microsoft Word and Office at work, you’ll love this.

Do you find yourself typing certain things over and over each time you do an email notice or write a report?

I’m responsible for sending out annual IEP meeting notices (we call them ARDS in Texas) to parents and staff. Today I was looking over my list and emailed six parents their notices. 
I typed the same text in each email… 
“Dear Parent, 
Enclosed is an invitation to your child’s ARD meeting. Please reply and let us know if you will be attending or if you need a change in date or time. You’ll need the password XYZ to open the invitation. We look forward to seeing you.”

Repetitive tasks are such a time-waster. And boring.

 I’ve tried keeping a Word document on my desktop with blurbs that I can copy and paste from, but that’s a fairly awkward system. I have to open the document, copy, navigate back to my email, paste. I’m thinking… there must be a better way.

Eureka! I found these fast and easy hacks to speed up those repetitive tasks.

I did a happy dance when I figured this one out. Woohoo, uh, huh, alright!

Maybe you’re emailing meeting notices, reminders, or any other repetitive type message. 

1. Do you know you can create an email template in Microsoft Outlook?

If your email doesn’t change much each time you send it, this is for you. If you’re using Office 2010 or newer, here’s how:

  1. Go to your Home tab. 
  2. Find New group and click New E-mail. OR try the keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+M
  3. Type the message you want. 
  4. Click File, then Save As
  5. In the Save as Type list, click Outlook Template
  6. Type a name for your template in the File Name box and Save.
You now have a template you can pull up that’s pre-filled with your specified text. Don’t worry, you can tweak it a bit or add anything to it you need to, such as editing or adding names, dates or times.
Here’s how to use your email template:

  1. Click New ItemsMore ItemsChoose Form
  2. Click Look In- click User Templates in File System. This opens the default template location. If you saved to another location, just browse for it by your template name.
  3. Find your template and open it.
Now just make any needed tweaks and send.

2. AutoCorrect

Want to automatically use a snippet without having to click and find it? Set it up in auto-correct. This can be particularly useful for snippets you use all the time. You’ll be able to just type a keyword/name and your snippet will automatically replace it. Love this. Really.
Here’s how:
  1. Go to File-Options-Proofing
  2. Click AutoCorrect Options
  3. A box will pop up. Check the box that says Replace Text as you type
  4. Under Replace, type the text you want to trigger the autocorrect feature. (You may want to make this something that you wouldn’t ordinarily type for other reasons such as “Hello Parent” or DNQ1, so it doesn’t autocorrect when you don’t need it to.)
  5. In the box that says With, type the text that you want to appear in your document when the autocorrect is triggered.
  6. Select Add, OK and OK again.

What can you use autocorrect for?

There are tons of ways to use this feature. 
How about if you start typing your title, Speech-Lan and the text Speech-Language Pathologist pops up automatically? Awesome!  Other ideas for items you’ll never fully have to type out in Microsoft Office again:
  1. Your official title
  2. Your school name
  3. Your email address
  4. Your signature
  5. Notices
  6. Blurbs in Reports
  7. Repetitive instructions
  8. Format of IEP goals (For instance, I start my goals with “Within 36 instructional weeks.” I’m going to autocorrect the text “Within 36” to type out the whole blurb super fast!
  9. And how about those typos/ misspellings that you are frequently guilty of? Add ’em to autocorrect!

3. Autotext

This feature is super-handy too. Automatically insert a text snippet you define in documents or emails. This feature goes beyond Autocorrect because you can store your formatting, line breaks, and even graphics. It’s autocorrect supercharged!

This works for Word for Office 365, and Microsoft Word versions 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019.

Here’s how:

  1. Type out the text you want to re-use for your snippet (or you can even insert a graphic)
  2. Press Alt+F3 and a Create New Building Block dialogue box will open. (Who knew this was there? Not me.)
  3. You can use the defaults, but you may want to add a name and description to make it easier for you to find. (I’d keep the name short but meaningful to you.)
  4. To use your new auto-text snippet, Go to Insert-Quick Parts-Autotext and choose your snippet 
  5. OR even faster:  Put your cursor where you want your autotext, then type the name of your autotext. Press F3.  

This is seriously amazing. You might want to keep a list of your autotext names handy if you create a lot of them, so you don’t forget them.

What can SLPs use Auto text for? 

  1. Notices
  2. Blurbs in reports
  3. Repetitive instructions
  4. Email reminders: meetings, paperwork due, items needed from staff for evals, parent updates.
  5. Including your photo or school mascot in signatures

Note: Don’t use these features to store confidential information

Once established, autocorrect, autotext and email templates are available to anyone using your computer, or that you share the document with. So be sure you don’t store anything confidential that you wouldn’t want to share. 

Give it a Whirl! 

I think you’ll love saving time with these hacks. Leave me a comment if you give it a try. I’d love to hear how these hacks make your SLP easier! Know any other great shortcuts? Share those too.

3 Time-saving hacks for SLPs I'll bet you didn't know  #speechsprouts #speechtherapy #slporganization  #productivity

Until next time,

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