Alternatively referred to as word completion, autocomplete is a software feature that finishes what is being typed by comparing the current text with previously entered text. For example, when a user types the letter "c" in the Computer Hope search bar, autocomplete displays matches based on previous searches as seen in the picture.
Autocomplete should not be confused with autofill, which is an Internet browser feature that stores your information for filling out multiple fields in a form. For example, filling out all fields required for an address. Autocomplete only completes what is being typed in the current field and not multiple fields.
Pressing the down arrow key allows you to move through the autocomplete suggestions. Once you have found the option you want, press the Enter key to complete the typing. If you are entering text into a search field or another single text field, pressing Enter again will submit the request.
Where is autocomplete used?
- Web page addresses - Autocomplete for URLs typed in the address bar.
- Forms - Enables a user to fill out individual form field quickly. Not to be confused with autofill that fills out all known fields.
- Usernames and passwords on forms - Autocomplete usernames and passwords that have been submitted in the past. However, realize this can be a security risk if that computer is accessible to other users.
Example of autocomplete form fields
Before autocomplete works, a value must have previously been submitted. Below are some examples of typical fields you may have to complete when filling out a form. Filling out any of these fields and then clicking submit stores the submitted data in your browser's autocomplete history.
If you have filled out any of these fields in the past, while in the field you can press the down arrow key to see available autocomplete options. Also, if you have entered "Nathan" as a first name in the past if you start typing "Na" you should see "Nathan" as an option that can be selected. Finally, many browsers also allow you to double-click a field to see available options to autocomplete the field.
If you want to fill out all the form fields at once, you want to use the autofill feature.
Clicking the submit button only sends any entered information to your browser and is in no way sent to Computer Hope. Once pressed this page reloads as if the information was submitted.