Microsoft Word allows you to set the language and proofing tools used for checking spelling and grammar. This can be helpful if you frequently write documents in multiple languages. Follow this simple guide to adjust the language settings in Word on your Windows PC.
Check Your Default Language in Word
Before changing any settings, check what language Word currently uses:
- Open a blank Word document.
- Click the Review tab at the top.
- In the Language section, look at what language is displayed. This will show the current language Word uses for spell checking, grammar, etc.
Open the Language Settings
To open the full language preferences menu:
- Click the File tab and select Options.
- Choose Language from the left sidebar.
This will open the language settings you can customize.
Change Editing and Interface Languages
Under Editing Languages, you can set the default language used for spell check, grammar check, style check, and other editing tools in Word.
To add another language:
- Click Add additional editing languages.
- Select the languages you want from the long list of options.
- Click OK when finished.
The languages you added will now appear in your preferences. You can also remove languages by selecting them and clicking Remove.
Next, use the Default editing language dropdown to choose which language you want Word to default to for proofing tools.
Under Language interface, choose which language you want Word to display menus and commands in. This changes the interface language.
Prioritize Languages for Proofing Tools
When you have multiple editing languages added, Word will check spelling and grammar in all activated languages. But you can prioritize which dictionary is used first:
- Under Editing Languages, click Set Proofing Language Priorities.
- Use the up and down arrows to reorder languages.
- Click OK when done.
Now when checking a document, Word will check the top language first, then the second, and so on in priority order.
Modify Settings for Specific Languages
To customize the editing features for specific languages:
- Make sure the language is added under Editing Languages.
- Click Language Preferences…
- Adjust any settings like dictionary, grammar rules, etc.
- Click OK.
Repeat this for each language’s settings you want to modify.
Add Extra Keyboards and Input Methods
If you type in other languages, you can add keyboard layouts:
- Go to Language Preferences > Advanced tab.
- Click Change keyboard settings…
- Choose Add a keyboard and select the languages.
- Click Add then OK.
Now Windows will allow you to switch between keyboard layouts on the fly.
You can also configure Input Method Editors (IMEs) for Asian language input. Click Change input methods… in the Advanced settings to add or remove IMEs.
Save Your New Language Settings
Once you finish customizing language preferences, click OK to save all changes. The next time you open Word your updated settings will load automatically.
Now when writing multilingual documents, you can seamlessly switch between languages, input methods, and proofing tools configured specifically for each language.
Troubleshooting Language Issues in Word
If you make changes but Word still behaves unexpectedly with languages, try these troubleshooting tips:
Restart Word and Windows
Close Word and other Office programs entirely. Also restart Windows if possible. This clears any cached language data and loads the latest preferences.
Reset the Normal Template
Corrupted data in Word’s Normal template can affect language settings. To reset:
- Close all Word docs.
- Hold CTRL and click Word icon to restart in safe mode.
- Choose Disable all templates then open a blank doc.
- Go to Developer tab then click Document Template > Organizer.
- For Normal.dotm, choose Reset. Say Yes to confirm.
This resets the template to default. Now try changing languages again.
Contact Microsoft Support
If you still can’t resolve language issues, contact Microsoft Support for personalized troubleshooting help.