Word spell checking tips

Spell checking has been around for so many years, it’s easy to take it for granted. But it can be tweaked to work the way you want in MS Word 2010 (these options can be found in earlier versions, but the path to find them will be different)

  • By default the spell checker will be active while you type. See the wavy red lines below. If you want to turn off this feature, go to the File tab. Choose Options, Proofing and uncheck “Check spelling as you type”.

  • Have you ever had to proof read something in a foreign language? You can have a sea of wavy red lines! Highlight all the foreign text and go to the Review tab. In the Language group, click on the Language button and choose “Set Proofing Language. Here you can spell check with a different dictionary.

On the Set Proofing Language screen, you can also flag the selected text to be excluded from spell checking.

  • Adding words to the dictionary… there are several ways to do this. As you spell check a document, you can always choose to add a word as you go. But if you know of some special words ahead of time, you can add them to your dictionary. Go back to File, Options and Proofing. Click on the “Custom Dictionaries…” button and you normally will only have one like below. Then choose the “Edit Word List…” button.

If you have a lot of words to add, you can use a text editor (like Notepad or WordPad) to edit the custom.dic file (see the screen shot above, it includes the file path). Now you can type or even paste in new words.

  • Follow the above steps to edit your custom dictionary if you need to remove any misspelled words that you may have added by mistake.
  • And while you are poking around the Proofing screen, check out some of the other options you have to control how the spell checker works. You can ignore words with numbers, ignore uppercase words and even flag incorrect grammar, too!
  • Want to keep the wavy lines except for this one document? At the bottom of the Proofing section, you can make exceptions by document.

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