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Microsoft Word’s built-in spelling and grammar checking tools work automatically most of the time, but there are many ways to customize them. You can even use AutoCorrect to speed up your typing.

We used Word 2013 Word 2013: An In-Depth Review Of What You Should Expect Word 2013: An In-Depth Review Of What You Should Expect It’s been three years since Microsoft launched Office 2010. Released alongside online versions (Microsoft Office Web Apps) of its popular applications, the jewel in the crown of the suite was, of course, Microsoft Word. Offering... Read More for this article. The interface should be fairly similar on Word 2010, too.

In-line Spell Checking

By default, Word will use in-line spell checking. Words you misspell will appear with a red squiggly underline — just right-click the word you meant to type to correct each typo.

Of course, Word doesn’t know every word that exists — especially names of things. To have Word ignore a “misspelling” that is actually correct for the current document, select Ignore All. If you plan on using the word a lot, click Add to Dictionary and Word will remember the word in the future.

word 2013 inline spell check with red squiggly lines

In-line Grammar Checking

Grammar checking works the same way, but grammar errors will be marked with a blue squiggly underline. To manage settings for spell and grammar checking, visit the FILE > Options > Proofing pane.

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word 2013 grammar check

Manual Spell and Grammar Checking

To spell-and-grammar-check an entire document, click the REVIEW tab and click the Spelling & Grammar button — or just press F7 Using Microsoft Word? Here's How To Become a Time-Saving Ninja Using Microsoft Word? Here's How To Become a Time-Saving Ninja Over the years, Microsoft Word has become one of the best word processors in the world. I'm sure there are people out there that disagree - particularly Linux or Mac folks who would really rather... Read More . Word will go through your spelling mistakes one by one and allow you to fix them. This saves you time — you don’t have to painstakingly scroll through the document and look for all the red and blue squiggly underlines.

To “unignore” words you’ve ignored in the current document, causing Word to flag them as misspellings again, navigate to FILE > Options > Proofing and click the Recheck Document button.

word 2013 manual spell check

Manage Your Custom Dictionary

You may accidentally add a word to your custom dictionary and want to remove it, or you may just want to clean up your custom dictionary later. To do this, click FILE > Options > Proofing > Custom Dictionaries > Edit Word List. You’ll see a list of words added to your custom dictionary and you can remove any of them.

word 2013 manage custom dictionary entries

Change Your Language

You may want run spelling and grammar checks in a different language 4 Hidden Benefits Of Learning A Foreign Language If You Are A Geek 4 Hidden Benefits Of Learning A Foreign Language If You Are A Geek English is overwhelmingly the language of the Internet. And yet, there's never been a better reason and a better time to learn a foreign language. It opens up the world, and opportunities. Read More . To do this, click the REVIEW tab, click the Language button, and click Set Proofing Language. Languages you have installed will have a little icon to the left of their names, indicating you can switch to them immediately. You can also set a language as your default language for future documents from here.

word 2013 change spell check language

Install New Dictionaries

If you don’t have a dictionary installed, no problem — select a language from the Set Proofing Language dialog and Word will offer to download and install the dictionaries for the selected language.

word 2013 download language spell check dictionaries

Disable the Spell Checker

You may want to disable the spell checker entirely when working on documents that contain a lot of words Word doesn’t understand. To disable spell-checking, click FILE > Options > Proofing.

From this dialog, you can disable “Check spelling  as you type” and Word will only check spelling when you click the Spelling & Grammar button. Those red squiggly lines won’t appear. Alternative, you can disable spellcheck entirely for only the current document — just enable the “Hide spelling errors in this document only” check box at the bottom of the window.

And you can control spell-check on a per-paragraph basis. Select some text, and then click the Set Proofing Language button under REVIEW > Language. Use the options in the dialog box to disable spell-check for the selected text.

word 2013 disable spell-check for document

AutoCorrect

The AutoCorrect feature can automatically replace words you type with correctly spelled words. It’s enabled by default, replacing common misspellings like “realyl” with “really.” You can disable AutoCorrect or manage the list of automatically corrected words and add your own.

This also allows you to speed up typing — for example, if you frequently type a sentence like “Hello, my name is Bob Smith,” you could create an AutoCorrect rule that expands “hmbs” to “Hello, my name is Bob Smith” when you type it. This is known as text expansion What Is Text Expansion & How Can It Help You Save Time? What Is Text Expansion & How Can It Help You Save Time? If you could save yourself even a small fraction of the time you spend typing, you could save hours of your time every week. That's exactly what text expansion is for. Read More .

To manage AutoCorrect, click FILE > Options > Proofing > AutoCorrect Options.

word 2013 autocorrect settings

PowerPoint, Excel, and Other Office Applications

PowerPoint also uses in-line spell checking and everything works about the same. However, Microsoft Excel — which is frequently used for other types of data — won’t automatically inform you about errors with a squiggly underline. In Excel, you’ll have to run a manual spell check from REVIEW > Spelling on the ribbon to see spelling errors.

Most of the other settings here are also found in other Office applications, and Office actually shares many of these settings between its different applications. The tips above don’t just apply to Word!

excel 2013 manual spell check

What are some funny or out of place corrections you have come across with default spell checkers?

Image Credit: Ryan Hyde on Flickr

  1. Mevzi Turan Haciosmanoglu
    September 25, 2015 at 7:38 am

    The problem is to spell check without using of any mouse - spell check by using only of a keyboard. This feature no longer work in winword 2013 and 2016. Spell checking using of a mouse is time wasting. In winword 2013 and 2016 shortcuts for Ignore once Alt + i and Ignore always Alt + g do not longer work. Better to return to Winword 2003 if you want to work faster and increase your performance.

  2. Ronny
    August 8, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    I often write documents in a "mixed" language, dutch and english. It would be handy if Word (and ..) would use both dictionary's together so I didn't have to switch language for each word it doesn't find in the "standard" language.

  3. Saikat B
    August 7, 2014 at 7:21 am

    I always disable the ‘Check Spelling as You Type’ feature. It's very distracting and slows you down when working on a document.

  4. michel
    August 6, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    I'm seriously hoping the next iteration of Windows and Word will look much more like something an adult human would want to use. I'm skipping over Office 2013 and Win 8 because both are so butt-ugly distracting. I can't believe someone other than an amateur actually released these. These are the ugliest screenshots I've ever seen.

  5. Michael Ward
    August 6, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks but I am having one problem with my Word on my Mac. It won't let me tell it to only use the UK English, it keeps using the US Spelling and as an Anaesthetist I don't want to be an Anesthetist! Is there a way to tell it that I am on the East side of the Pond and like it!

  6. Howard B
    August 5, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Tank yew! Eye rally kneaded a spalling chequer!
    Seriously, though, spell checking is pretty useless without an accompanying grammar checker (which Word also has).

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