Spelling or grammar checker doesn't flag text in the way that I expect

Spelling or grammar checker might be flagging text that you think is correct, or not flagging text that you know is incorrect. This article discusses some of the more likely reasons for this, and can help you adjust your spelling and grammar checker settings accordingly. You can also choose to ignore spelling and grammar errors altogether. More information about spelling and grammar settings can be found in Check spelling and grammar, Choose how spelling and grammar checking work, and Select grammar and writing style options.

 Note   Checking spelling and grammar in other languages can add unique issues. Learn more about checking spelling and grammar in another language and what to do if the spelling or grammar checker isn't checking words in another language correctly.

What do you want to do?


Troubleshoot spelling checking

When you use the spelling checker, it compares the words in your document to those in its main dictionary. The main dictionary contains most common words, but it might not include proper names, technical terms, acronyms, intentional misspellings, different capitalizations, etc.. Adding such words or capitalization to a custom dictionary prevents the spelling checker from flagging them.

If the spelling checker is not flagging a word that you expect it to, it might have been added to your custom dictionary.

For information about how to use and manage custom dictionaries, see Use custom dictionaries to add words to the spelling checker.

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Troubleshoot grammar checking in Outlook and Word

If you are not sure why the grammar checker flagged some text as grammatically incorrect, try some of the following:

  • To learn more about why Word flagged a possible grammar error
    • While checking spelling and grammar automatically     Right-click the word, and then click About This Sentence.

      Right-click grammar error
    • While checking spelling and grammar all at once     Click Explain in the Spelling and Grammar dialog box.

For more information about checking spelling and grammar automatically or all at once, see Check spelling and grammar.

  • If the grammar checker flags errors you don't want to fix, you can customize the grammar and writing style rules to be less restrictive. Word provides a "natural language" grammar checker that flags possible problems by performing a comprehensive analysis of the text. If the grammar checker can't determine the correct linguistic structure of a sentence, or if it comes across a questionable capitalization, it may incorrectly flag text or propose incorrect suggestions. For more information on how to turn off rules for specific grammar or writing styles, see Select grammar and writing style options.

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Ignore text or an entire style

In Microsoft Office Outlook, Microsoft Office Word, and Microsoft Office PowerPoint, you can make the spelling and grammar checker ignore complete chunks of text. For example, if you insert text from an informal e-mail message that contains sentence fragments and slang terms, you can set the spelling and grammar checker to ignore the mistakes in this block of text.

In Word, you can take the additional step of creating a special style if you have a certain type of content that you don't want the spelling and grammar checker to check. For example, if your document contains technical content such as multiple blocks of computer code.

 Important   If you want the spelling and grammar checker to ignore certain text, any spelling or grammar errors within that text are not flagged. Make sure that you advise anyone else who works on this document about your use of this option.

To make the spelling and grammar checker ignore text or a whole style, do the following in these Microsoft Office programs.

Which program are you using?


Outlook

  1. Select the text that you want the spelling and grammar checker to ignore.
  2. On the Spelling drop-down list, in the Proofing group, click Set Language.
  3. Select the Do not check spelling or grammar check box.

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Word

  1. Select the text that you want the spelling and grammar checker to ignore.
  2. On the Review tab, in the Proofing group, click Set Language.
  3. Select the Do not check spelling or grammar check box.
  4. You can also create a special style that is based on the selected text:
    1. Right-click the selection, and then click Save Selection as a New Quick Style on the Styles shortcut menu.
    2. Give the style a name — for example, code — and then click OK.

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PowerPoint

  1. Select the text that you want the spelling and grammar checker to ignore.
  2. On the Review tab, in the Proofing group, click Language.
  3. Select the Do not check spelling check box.

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Hide spelling and grammar errors in a Word document

You might have a Word document in which you don't want to see the spelling and grammar errors flagged with wavy red and green lines, or you might prefer that none of the documents that you create show the spelling and grammar errors.

 Note   This also applies to Outlook messages for which you have Word as your editor.

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, and then click Word Options.
  2. Click Proofing.
  3. To turn on or off automatic spelling checking and automatic grammar checking for the currently opened document:
    1. Under Exceptions for, click Name of currently open file.
    2. Select or clear the Hide spelling errors in this document only and Hide grammar errors in this document only check boxes.

To turn on or off automatic spelling checking and automatic grammar checking for all documents that you create:

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

 Important   If you turn off automatic spelling checking or 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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Ignore original message text in Outlook

In Outlook, you can specify that the original text of a message not be checked for spelling when you reply to or forward the message.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Spelling tab.
  2. Select the Ignore original message text in reply or forward check box.

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Always ignore data in a field in an Access table

Some tables in Microsoft Office Access contain data that should not be included when checking spelling.

  1. While you view the data in a table, query, form, or report, select the field that you want to exclude.
  2. On the Data tab, in the Editing group, click Check Spelling.

Keyboard shortcut  To display the Spelling dialog box, press F7.

  1. Click Ignore Field Name Field.

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Turn off fields for the spelling checker in Project

You might have some fields in Microsoft Office Project that you don't want to include when checking spelling.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Spelling tab.
  2. For each field, click Yes to turn on the spelling checker for that field or click No to turn off the spelling checker for that field.

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Applies to:
Access 2007, Excel 2007, InfoPath 2007, OneNote 2007, Outlook 2007, PowerPoint 2007, Project 2007, Publisher 2007, SharePoint Designer 2007, Visio 2007, Word 2007