Choose how spell check and grammar check work

Spelling and grammar mistakes can distract readers from the work that you put into your documents, so you want to eliminate these mistakes. Even so, you probably have your own preferences for how to use your Microsoft Office program to help you do this. You might prefer to check spelling all at once when you finish a document. Or you might want to use the spell check or grammar check (the wavy red, blue, and green lines) to keep mistakes to a minimum while you work.

This article explains all the ways that you can adapt the proofing tools to create the experience that you want in the Office program that you are using.

What do you want to do?


 Note   Learn about how to Check spelling and grammar in a different language.

Display the proofing options

Many of the procedures in this article require you to first display the proofing options.

  1. Click the File tab, and then click Options.
    If you are using Outlook, click Mail and then click Spelling and Autocorrect.
  2. Click Proofing.

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Select the AutoCorrect options

For more information, see Automatically correct capitalization, Autocorrect spelling, and insert text and symbols and Automatically correct spelling with words from the main dictionary.

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Select the spelling correction options that affect all Microsoft Office programs

To view and change these options, you must first display the proofing options. After you do this, you can view and change the settings described in the following sections.

Select the global Office spelling checker settings

Some of the options shown in the window that is displayed apply to all Microsoft Office programs. Regardless of which program you are using to change the option, the setting that you select applies to all the programs.

The following is a list of the check box options and what they do.

Select this check box: To do this:
Ignore words in UPPERCASE Ignore words in which all letters are uppercase. For example, if you select this option, the spelling checker does not flag ABC as a mistake.
Ignore words that contain numbers Ignore words that contain numbers. For example, if you select this option, the spelling checker does not flag a1b2c3 as a mistake.
Ignore Internet and file addresses

Ignore words that are Internet and file addresses. Some examples of words that the spelling checker ignores when this option is selected include:

  • http://www.proseware.com/
  • \\proseware\public\
  • mailto:andy@proseware.com
Flag repeated words Alerts you to repeated words. For example, if you select this option, the spelling checker will flag beep beep as a mistake.
Enforce accented uppercase in French

Alert you to French words that contain uppercase letters that are missing an accent mark.

When you are using the French (Canadian) dialect, by default this option is always turned on, because the dictionary for this language includes the accented uppercase form of words in this language. This means that the option is selected by default whenever you do the following:

Suggest from main dictionary only Suggest words only from the main dictionary that is built into the spelling checker. If you select this option, words from your custom dictionaries are not included in the list of suggested words when you check the spelling of a document.

Select a French mode

The other option that affects all Microsoft Office programs is the French modes menu. This option affects only text in the French language.

ShowExplanations of the options on this menu

Option Effect
New spelling Click this option to use spelling rules that have been recommended by the French Academy of Language since the spelling reform of 1990. If you select this option, words that are not spelled according to these rules are treated as mistakes. Also, the spelling checker suggests only words from the new spelling dictionary, which includes words not affected by the spelling reform, for misspelled words.
Traditional spelling Click this option to use spelling rules that predate the spelling reform of 1990. If you select this option, words that are not spelled according to these rules are treated as mistakes. Also, the spelling checker suggests only words from the traditional spelling dictionary, which includes words not affected by the spelling reform, for misspelled words.
Traditional and new spellings If you click this option, the spelling checker accepts words as spelled correctly regardless of whether they are spelled according to new or traditional spelling. Also, words from both the new and traditional spelling dictionaries are suggested for misspelled words.

For example, if you click the Traditional spelling option and edit a document with the French word bruler, the word is treated as a mistake by the spelling checker because this is the post-reform spelling of this word. However, if you click either the New spelling option or the Traditional and new spellings option, the word is not treated as a mistake.

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Change how the spelling checker works in the background

While you work in a document, the spelling checker can work in the background, searching for mistakes. As a result, when you finish the draft that you are working on, the check spelling process goes faster. This can save you time, especially with large documents.

 Note    In Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Project, these options are not available. The spelling checker does not work in the background in these programs.

To view and change these options, you must first display the proofing options. After you do this, you can view and change the settings described in the following sections.

Select or clear the Check spelling as you type check box

In most cases, you should leave the Check spelling as you type check box selected. Some reasons you might want to clear this check box include the following:

  • You want to hide spelling mistakes (the wavy red lines) in Microsoft Office Outlook items that you are editing.
  • You are using a computer that runs slowly because of hardware limitations (for example, because of lack of memory or CPU speed) or software limitations (for example, because you run a lot of large programs at the same time).

Select or clear the Hide errors check box (wavy red lines)

Clear the Hide spelling errors check box if you want your Microsoft Office program to flag spelling mistakes automatically while you type. Clearing this option gives you confidence that you won't have to resolve a lot of spelling mistakes when you are about to finish your document. Your Microsoft Office program flags misspelled words while you work, so that you can easily see them, as in this example.

Misspelled word with wavy red line beneath it

Turn on or off the automatic spelling checker

  1. Click the File tab, and then click Options.
    If you are using Outlook, click Mail and then click Spelling and Autocorrect.
  2. Click Proofing.
  3. Select or clear the Check spelling as you type check box.

If you are using Word, you can turn on or off automatic spelling checking for all documents that you create from now on by doing the following:

  1. Follow steps 1 through 3 above.
  2. Under Exceptions for, click All New Documents.
  3. Select or clear the Hide spelling errors in this document only check box.

 Note    If you turn off automatic spelling checking for a file that you share with other people, you may want to notify those people that you made this change.

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Improve the spelling checker results by using contextual spelling

To view and change this option, you must first display the proofing options.

Have you ever typed a mistake similar to the following? I will see you their. In Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word, you can select the Use contextual spelling check box to get help with finding and fixing this type of mistake.

For example, if you selected the Use contextual spelling and Check spelling as you type check boxes and cleared the Hide spelling errors check box, the spelling checker flags the mistake and offers a suggestion when you right-click the flagged word, as in the following illustration.

Right-click contextual spelling error


 Notes 

  • After you install Microsoft Office, the Use contextual spelling check box is cleared by default if your system has less than 1 gigabyte (GB) of RAM.
  • Selecting the Use contextual spelling check box on a system with low memory can cause slow performance. If you notice this type of problem while you are using this option, you may want to clear the Use contextual spelling check box to resolve the problem.

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Change the grammar checking options for Outlook and Word

Outlook and Word offer you the ability to check grammar as well as spelling. To view and change the grammar checking options, you must first display the proofing options.

What do you want to do?


Turn on or off automatic grammar checking

You can choose to have Outlook and Word flag grammar mistakes automatically, as shown in the following illustration.

Right-click grammar error

Outlook

  • Select or clear the Check grammar as you type check box.

 Note    The grammar checker is available for all items except Notes.

Word

To turn on or off automatic grammar checking for the currently opened document, do the following:

  1. Under Exceptions for, click Name of currently open file.
  2. Select or clear the Hide grammar errors in this document only check box.

To turn on or off automatic grammar checking for all documents that you create from now on, do the following:

  1. Under Exceptions for, click All New Documents.
  2. Select or clear the Hide grammar errors in this document only check box.

 Important    If you turn off automatic grammar checking for a file that you share with other people, you may want to notify those people that you made this change.

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Turn on grammar checking all at once

Select the Check grammar with spelling check box if you want to include grammar errors when you check the spelling all at once (for example, when you press F7).

Show the readability statistics

Select the Show readability statistics check box if you want to display the readability statistics after you finish checking spelling all at once (for example, when you press F7). For more information about this feature, see Test your document's readability.

Control the rules that the grammar checker applies to your writing

You can select one of two options from the Writing style menu: Grammar Only or Grammar & Style. If you want to change the types of grammar and style rules that the grammar checker uses when checking your writing, click Settings. You can use the Grammar Settings dialog box to view the settings and make any changes that you want. For more information, see Select grammar and writing style options.

ShowWhy aren't the Writing style and Settings buttons available in Outlook?

There is a known problem that makes this menu and button unavailable in Microsoft Outlook. You can work around this problem by viewing the proofing options from an open item.

 Note    Any changes that you make to these settings apply to all items that you edit, not just the one you are currently working in.

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Select the Outlook spelling options

  • On the File tab, click Options, and then click Mail.
    • If you want the spelling checker to run all at once when you click Send, select the Always check spelling before sending check box.
    • To specify that the original text of a message not be checked for spelling when you reply to or forward the message, select the Ignore original message text in reply or forward check box.

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Turn on or off fields for the spelling checker in Project

You might have some fields in Microsoft Project that you don't want the spelling checker to check.

  1. Click the File tab, click Options, and then click Proofing.
  2. Under When correcting spelling in Project, clear all of the check boxes of fields you do not want the spelling checker to check.

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Applies to:
Access 2013, Excel 2013, OneNote 2013, Outlook 2013, PowerPoint 2013, Project Professional 2013, Project Standard 2013, Publisher 2013, Visio 2013, Visio Professional 2013, Word 2013, Access 2010, Excel 2010, OneNote 2010, Outlook 2010, PowerPoint 2010, Project 2010, Publisher 2010, Visio 2010, Word 2010