Just when I thought it was safe to go back onto the keyboard, Microsoft have come back to bite me again. Having managed to switch off the annoying AutoCorrect function in Microsoft Office, I am now being plagued by the Auto-Complete function in Hotmail.
As soon as I start typing any message in Hotmail, I am assailed by a barrage of irritating predictive text, attempting to mind-read what I am about to type next, like some kind of electronic proof-reading version of Derren Brown. Sometimes the predictive text is correct; sometimes it is wrong but, what it always is, is several seconds behind what I was about to type anyway. The result is a glitch in the sentence; while Hotmail’s Editor tries to comes to terms with the fact that I have carried on typing and ignored its suggestion, it ends up leaving out a character that I have actually typed, in a show of teenage editing petulance, with the result that I have to go back and manually correct the error. The only way that I can compensate for this is to type at a much slower speed than I am normally accustomed to, purely so that Hotmail’s Editor can keep up.
More annoying, is that a needy, approval-requesting message––“Are the auto-complete suggestions above helpful?”––appears on the screen below my typing. Without fail, I always press “No” in response. The result? Absolutely nothing. The predictive text facility simply does not get the hint; continues unabated.
I have tried in vain to switch off this Auto-Complete function; stabbed at every option available to me without success until, one day, pressing the ‘three dots’ button for more options, I was presented with a screen that I had never seen before. One of the options on the screen was ‘Editor’ and, tentatively, making this choice, I was confronted with a screen where I could finally disable text predictions. It was like opening a door into Narnia. It seemed almost too good to be true. And that was because it was.
When I next went back into Hotmail, the Auto-Complete function was active again and when I pressed the ‘three dots’ button the magical portal to Hotmail’s Editor had vanished; like a chimera that had never existed in the first place.
© Simon Turner-Tree
Simon Turner-Tree is resigned to predictive text/tents/test match cricket.