Checking Spelling Through the Spelling and Grammar Dialog Box

In addition to the streamlined spelling and grammar tools Word makes available through the shortcut menu, Word provides a powerful spelling- and grammar-checking dialog box that gives you even more options for fixing your current document?and improving the way you check future documents. To access it, click the Spelling and Grammar button on the Standard toolbar, or press F7.

The Spelling and Grammar dialog box opens, displaying the first potential error it finds, starting from the current text cursor position (see Figure 8.4).

Figure 8.4. The Spelling and Grammar dialog box, showing a spelling error and offering suggestions.



Word displays both spelling and grammar errors in the Spelling and Grammar dialog box. If you want to check only spelling, clear the Check Grammar check box.

The sentence containing the potential problem appears in the Not in Dictionary scroll box; the incorrect word appears in red. You now have several options:

  • If you want to disregard the spelling error without ignoring it elsewhere in the document, choose Ignore Once.

  • If you want Word to disregard the spelling error throughout the current document, choose Ignore All.

  • If the word is spelled correctly and you want Word to add it to the custom dictionary (so that the word will never be flagged as wrong again), click Add to Dictionary.

  • If one of the words shown in the Suggestions list is correct, click on the correct word. Then, click Change; Word changes the spelling to match that suggestion.

  • If you want to change the spelling wherever it appears in the document, click on the correct word. Then, click Change All.

  • If you want to add the correction to its AutoCorrect database so that Word can fix the error as soon as you make it from now on, click on the correct word. Then, click AutoCorrect.

  • If Word hasn't made any acceptable suggestions, but you know how to fix the error manually, edit the word in the Not in Dictionary scroll box and click Change (or Change All or AutoCorrect).

For more information about AutoCorrect, see Chapter 9, "Automating Your Documents," p. 287.

No matter which option you choose, Word follows your instructions and automatically moves to the next potential error it finds. If you've chosen to proof only part of your document (by selecting that part of the document before running the spell check), Word offers to proof the rest after it finishes checking your selection. Otherwise, it reports that the spelling and grammar check is complete.

The next section has more information about proofing portions of a document.


If a change you make to fix a word or syntax error affects surrounding text, you can edit any part of the sentence that appears in the Not in Dictionary scroll box?not just the incorrect portion.

Or, if you prefer, you can click inside the document and make your edits there. The Spelling and Grammar dialog box remains open. When you finish, click inside the dialog box and click Resume.

Proofing Only Part of a Document

Word enables you to check your entire document or any part of it, including individual words. If you don't want to check your entire document, select only the text you want to check?even if it's just a single word.

You can also tell Word to never proof a portion of your document. To do so, select the text you don't want proofed. Next, choose Tools, Language, Set Language. The Language dialog box opens. Check the Do Not Check Spelling or Grammar check box and click OK. This turns off both spelling and grammar for the portion of the document you selected.

Undoing Spelling or Grammar Changes You Just Made

You can always undo your most recent spelling or grammar changes (except for adding words to a custom dictionary). From within the Spelling and Grammar dialog box, click Undo.

If you've already finished spell checking, you can still click the Undo button on the Standard toolbar to undo one change at a time, starting with the last change you made. You might find this most useful if you've been spot-checking specific changes in your document, rather than spell checking the document as a whole.

Revising a Previously Checked Document

If you proof a document a second time, Word doesn't recheck the spelling of words (or the syntax of sentences) you already proofed and chose to ignore. If you want Word to catch previously caught errors, reopen the Spelling & Grammar Options dialog box (either choose Tools, Options and click the Spelling & Grammar tab or click the Options button inside the Spelling & Grammar dialog box) and click the Recheck Document button. Word asks you to confirm that you want to recheck text you've already proofed; choose Yes.

    Part I: Word Basics: Get Productive Fast
    Part II: Building Slicker Documents Faster
    Part III: The Visual Word: Making Documents Look Great
    Part IV: Industrial-Strength Document Production Techniques
    Part VI: The Corporate Word