If spelling and grammar are not your strong suits, you will love this feature in Word. Read on to learn how to ramp up your writing skills to a whole new level.
Earlier versions of Word
In earlier versions of Word, spelling checker was useful as long as you used the right word in the right context. Some of us, however, aren't always sure about which word to use when. For example, the words there (t h e r e), their (t h e i r), and they're (t h e y ' r e) all sound the same and are all spelled "correctly." If used in the wrong context, however, they create an incorrect sentence. How would you know?
It is also common to type the instead of they (with a y), or some times (with a space between the words) as opposed to sometimes (as one word). These types of spelling errors are not detected by earlier versions of Word and change the meaning or readability of your sentence.
Help is on the way
Word (2007 and later) now offers a feature that catches most contextual spelling errors. If you use a screen reader, contextual errors are announced as misspelled words. I would not rely on this feature completely, though. For example, you could still write an incorrect sentence, such as, "They're (t h e y ' r e) you go," and Word does not flag it as incorrect. So, don't fire your editor.
A little help from JAWS
When you are visually impaired, using the traditional spell checker in Word can be a bit cumbersome. For example, the little squiggly lines that appear under a misspelled word can be very difficult to see or not seen at all, and screen readers, such as JAWS, don’t always detect spelling errors by default.
Set up your environment
By default, JAWS is not configured to detect spelling and grammar errors. Word is generally configured by default, but just in case someone might have turned off these features, here is how to check the status of these settings and re-enable them if necessary:
- In Word, press ALT+F, and then press I.
- In the Word Options dialog box, press your DOWN ARROW key twice to open the Proofing page.
- To access the Check spelling as you type check box, press ALT+P. Make sure that this check box is selected. If it's not, press your SPACEBAR to select it.
- To access the Use contextual spelling check box, press your DOWN ARROW key once. Make sure this check box is selected. If it's not, press your SPACEBAR to select it.
- To access the Mark grammar errors as you type check box, press your DOWN ARROW key once . Make sure this check box is selected. If it's not, press your SPACEBAR to select it.
- To access the Check grammar with spelling check box, press your DOWN ARROW key once . Make sure this check box is selected. If it's not, press your SPACEBAR to select it.
- Press ENTER to save your changes and close the dialog box.
To configure JAWS to detect spelling and grammar errors, do the following:
- Make sure that JAWS is running and that a Word document is active.
- Press INSERT+V to open the verbosity settings for Word.
- Press your DOWN ARROW key to move through the selections.
- Under Editing Options, make sure that the following options are set. To change the setting, press your SPACEBAR:
- Set AutoCorrect Detection to On.
- Set Spelling Error Detection to On.
- Set Grammatical Error Detectionto On + Count (or On)
- Press ALT+C to save your changes, and then close the dialog box.
Check and correct your errors
If you press INSERT+UP ARROW to read the current line, JAWS reads the current line and informs you of any errors that you have on that line. If you set the Grammatical Error Detection setting to On + Count, JAWS informs you of how many errors are on that line.
To hear a list of spelling errors that are in your document, press ALT+SHIFT+L. Use your DOWN ARROW key to move through the list of errors. To go to the location of the error, press ENTER.
If you need help with a misspelled word, position your cursor over the word, and then press SHIFT+F10 for a list of word options. Press your DOWN ARROW key to move through the suggested words. To hear the spelling of the word, quickly press INSERT+NUM PAD 5 twice. If you are using a laptop computer, quickly press CAPS LOCK+K twice. When you find the correct word, press ENTER.
To hear a list of grammatical errors that are in your document, press CTRL+SHIFT+G. Use your DOWN ARROW key to move through the list of errors. To go to the location of the error, press ENTER.
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