Check spelling and grammar

All Microsoft Office programs can check the spelling and grammar of your files. In Microsoft Word 2013 you’ll find the Spelling & Grammar options here:

  • Click Review > Spelling & Grammar to start the spelling and grammar checker.

Spelling checker button on the ribbon

Choose from these options as the spelling and grammar checker goes through each word:

  • Check the spelling and grammar all at once.
  • Check spelling and grammar automatically, as you type.
  • Recheck the words you previously checked and chose to ignore (but changed your mind).

Check spelling and grammar all at once

Checking all the spelling and grammar in your document is useful when you want to quickly proof your text. You can check for possible mistakes and then decide if you agree with the spelling and grammar checker.

After you click Spelling & Grammar you can fix each error that Word finds in different ways. In the task pane at the right of your document, you will see the spelling and grammar choices:

Spelling & Grammar taskpane

  • Fix the error using Word’s suggestions    If you want to fix the error by using one of the suggested words, select the word in the list of suggestions and click Change. (You can also click Change All if you know you’ve used this incorrectly spelled or used word throughout the document so that you don’t have to address it each time it pops up.)
  • Create a dictionary entry    If the word is a real word that you use and one that you want Word—and ALL of the Office programs—to recognize too, click Add.
  • Ignore the word    Maybe you want to ignore this misspelled word (for whatever reason): Click Ignore or Ignore All.

Check spelling and grammar automatically

Checking spelling and grammar while you type may be a preferred way for you to save time: You make the necessary corrections and changes while you’re writing, not waiting until after (you think) your document is complete.

  1. First, to turn on (or off) automatic spelling and grammar checking, click File > Options > Proofing.

Word proofing exceptions

  1. As you can see in the picture above, you can choose to automatically check spelling, grammar—one or the other, both, or neither—or even other options, such as contextual spelling.
  2. Under Exceptions you can choose to hide grammar and spelling errors in your open document or, if you leave the options unchecked but keep any of the options above them checked, all of your new documents going forth will keep those settings.

How the automatic spelling checking works

Word flags misspelled words with a red squiggly line under it as you work so that you can easily locate mistakes:

Word flags a possible misspelled word

When you right-click the misspelled word, you’ll see a menu where you can choose how you want to handle the mistake.

Right-click menu for a flagged word

How automatic grammar checking works

After you turn on automatic grammar checking, Word flags potential grammar, style, and contextual mistakes with a blue squiggly line under the word, term, or phrase as you work in your document.

Example of the grammar checker

Just like with the spell checker, you can right-click the mistake to see more options. (In this case, the sentence might have been better off as a question instead of a sentence.

Recheck the words and grammar that you previously checked and chose to ignore

You can also force a recheck of the words and grammar that you previously chose to ignore.

  1. Open the document that you want to recheck.
  2. Click File > Options > Proofing.
  3. Under Correcting spelling and grammar in Word, click Recheck Document.
  4. When you see the following message This operation resets the spelling checker and grammar checker so that Word will recheck words and grammar you previously checked and chose to ignore. Do you want to continue? click Yes and then click OK to close out of the Word Options dialog box.
  5. Then, in your document, click Review > Spelling & Grammar.

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Applies to:
Word 2013