Awesome AutoCorrect Prank for April Fools Day

Warning, this post contains immature language.

Don’t let April Fools Day catch you off guard this year—be prepared! I’ve got the perfect prank for you to play on your family, friends, and co-workers.

someecards.com - I plan to spend April Fool's Day remembering all of the pranks I thought of last year but completely forgot to execute this year.

Chances are really good that everyone you know has at least one of the following: an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC. I’ve got a prank for you that you can use on all of those devices.

The AutoCorrect or text substitution feature built into OS X, iOS, and Microsoft Office can be an amazing productivity boost. But, it can also be used to freak out your unsuspecting family, friends and co-workers this April Fools Day.

On a Mac

In this example I’m using a Mac running OS X 10.7.3 (Lion), but it should also work on 10.6 (Snow Leopard). First, open the System Preferences app.

Mac OS X System Preferences

Launch the Language & Text Preference Pane.

Select Language and Text Preference Pane

Click on the plus sign (+) to create a new symbol or text substitution.

Text Tab

If I were your victim, you’d want to think of something I type all the time, My Name (where My Name is the persons name or whatever text you want to have AutoCorrect change), for example. Enter that in the Replace column.

Replace "My Name"

Now, here’s the best part—in the With column enter the text you want to be replaced when your prankee types My Name. Because I’m so cool and sophisticated I would go with something like Poop.

Replace with Poop

Be sure to close the System Preferences app to cover your tracks. After you’ve added your entry to AutoCorrect it will be available in most of the apps on the Mac: Mail, iCal, TextEdit, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, etc.

Now, imagine the following scenario. I, your hapless target am completing a moving letter in TextEdit and have just typed My Name.

Entering "My Name" in TextEdit

Bang, I’ve just been pranked!

TextEdit Poop

Now, let’s see how to do this on a PC.

In Microsoft Office 2010

For this example I used a PC running Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010. To my knowledge it should also work on Windows XP or Vista using Office 2003 or greater.

Go to the File menu in an Office 2010 application, like Excel in this example. Click on Options.

Microsoft Office File Menu

Click on Proofing.

Microsoft Office Options

Then, click on the AutoCorrect Options button.

Microsoft Office Options - Proofing

Similar to what you did on a Mac above, enter the text you want to change in the Replace column and what you want the substitution in the With column.

Microsoft Office Options - AutoCorrect

To keep things consistent we’ll go with My Name and Poop again. Click on OK to save your changes and then close out of the Options window.

AutoCorrect Adding an Entry

Even though you added the AutoCorrect in Excel, it will be accessible on all Office 2010 programs including Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

So, when My Name is typed …

Typing My Name in Word

You get Poop.

AutoCorrect Poop in Word

On an iPad or iPhone

Lastly, let’s see how to add AutoCorrect entries to an iOS device—an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.

Open the Settings app and tap on General

iOS Settings App

Tap on Keyboard.

Keyboard

Then, tap on Shortcuts.

Shortcuts

To add an entry tap on the plus sign (+) in the upper right hand corner.

Add a Shortcut

Entering AutoCorrect shortcuts is a little different in iOS. First, type in the Phrase or word you want to substitute. Again, we’ll go with our old standby, Poop.

Next, type in the Shortcut you want substituted. Please note that it must be one word only. So instead of My Name you’ll have to just use Name in this example.

Tap Save and close out of the Settings app.

Enter Phrase and Shortcut Text

The next time the recipient of your pranking prowess prepares a message in Mail.app and enters their Name they’ll get, you guessed it, Poop.

Poop Strikes Again

One quirk with iOS devices is that before the AutoCorrect occurs they may actually see a little popup before the text substitution happens. This would give them the option of tapping the little ‘x’ next to the substitution to cancel it. Given the proliferation of humorous AutoCorrect sites on the Internet, it’s a safe bet that your target will fall victim to your prank.

Now you’re all set for April Fools Day. Go forth and prank merrily.

What pranks do you plan on pulling this year? Or what are the best pranks you’ve pulled on April Fools Days past? Sound off in the comments below.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.

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