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I am in the process of writing a doctoral thesis. The final document will doubtless contain a few acronyms (I'll be avoiding too many!) One thing I need to do is keep track of which ones I've used and list them in a table somewhere near the beginning of the document.

I wonder if anyone knows of any free plug-in or tool for word processors (I'm using MS Word) that maintains a list of acronyms. I'm looking for the ability to auto-generate a table of acronyms, to have the first instance of any acronym automatically rendered in full with its Acronym In Brackets (AIB), with all other acronyms simply rendered as AIBs. (No, I don't use AIBs this liberally in real life, this is for demonstration only!)

This would save me having to track through for each acronym and check that I only use the AIB after the first use, and also allow me to (if need be) render a version of the document with all the acronyms expanded to their full version.

I suspect that in the fullness of time, this would be a time-saving tool. I'm aware of a paid-for tool for this, but am looking for a free tool.

Note: This solution provides the ability to create an index of acronyms, but it doesn't dynamically alter the first instance of each.

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What is wrong with the paid product? –  Adam Feb 12 '13 at 4:39
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You're looking for a free solution for a commercial product, which I find strange.

You can achieve this in the free OpenOffice or LibreOffice using Indexes. Here are instructions on how to use them. Depending on your needs, you can either use a User-defined Index (which only allows simple text entries), or an alphabetical index, where your first key would be "Acronyms" and the second key and the text entry can be the acronym and the explanation to it.

When you insert an index entry, you can choose to apply this to all similar texts in the document.

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