How to Check Spelling in Microsoft Word

750910 How to Check Spelling in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word has a built-in spelling and grammar checker that can help you find and correct misspelled words and other common writing errors in your documents. Using this tool can help improve the quality and readability of your writing.

In this blog post, we’ll walk through the various ways to check spelling in Word so you can choose the method that works best for your needs.

Enable Automatic Spell Checking

The easiest way to catch misspellings is to enable automatic spell checking. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the File tab and click Options.
  2. Select Proofing from the menu on the left.
  3. Under When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, check the box next to Check spelling as you type.
  4. You can also check Mark grammar errors as you type if you want Word to flag grammatical issues too.
  5. Click OK to save the changes.

Now spelling errors will be underlined in red as you type. Right-click the underlined word to see suggested corrections. This allows you to quickly fix typos on the fly without having to run a manual spell check.

Run a Manual Spell Check

Alternatively, you can initiate a spell check manually at any time:

  1. Go to the Review tab.
  2. Click Spelling & Grammar in the Proofing group.

This will start the spell checker, which will scan through your document identifying errors and providing suggested corrections.

You have several options for correcting the misspellings:

  • Click one of the suggestions in the pane to replace the word automatically
  • Manually type the correct spelling in the pane
  • Click Ignore or Ignore All to exclude a word or phrase from being flagged
  • Click Add to include an unknown word in the dictionary so it won’t be marked wrong in the future

Review all identified errors. Once you’re done, click OK in the bottom-right corner.

Check Spelling in Other Office Apps

The spell checker works the same way in other Microsoft Office apps like Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint.

In Outlook, go to the Message tab and click Spelling to check the spelling in an email. In Excel or PowerPoint, go to the Review tab.

This allows you to easily ensure accuracy wherever you’re typing text.

Modify Spell Check Settings

You can customize the spell checker to better suit your preferences and writing style:

  1. Go back to File > Options > Proofing.
  2. Click Settings… next to Writing Style.
  3. Select or deselect any rules and guidelines.
    For example, you can choose whether to flag repeated words, capitalization errors, and more.
  4. Click OK to apply the changes.

Understanding these settings can help minimize false positives from the spell checker.

Use the Thesaurus and Dictionary

If you’re looking up definitions or synonyms, Word also has built-in dictionary and thesaurus tools:

  • For synonyms, go to the Review tab and click Thesaurus in the Proofing group.
  • For definitions, go to the Review tab and click Dictionary in the Proofing group.

Enter a word and Word will provide relevant results. This can be useful for expanding your vocabulary and enhancing your writing.

Enable Grammar Checking

In addition to spell check, Word can scan for grammatical mistakes:

  1. Go back to File > Options > Proofing.
  2. Check the box next to Check grammar with spelling.
  3. Under Writing Style, choose Grammar & More for the most comprehensive grammar check.
  4. Click Settings… to further customize which grammar and style rules are enabled.

With grammar check enabled, Word will flag issues like sentence fragments, subject-verb disagreement, punctuation errors, and more. Right-click the green squiggle underline to see suggestions.

Carefully reviewing the grammar feedback can noticeably improve your writing quality.

Use Other Proofing Tools

Under the Review tab, you’ll also find tools to:

  • Count words
  • View word count statistics like characters, paragraphs, lines, and pages
  • Translate selected text into another language

These convenient built-in tools can assist with proofreading your documents.

Leverage Add-Ins

Third-party add-ins can provide enhanced spelling and grammar checking functionality:

  • Grammarly – This popular tool goes more in-depth to check grammar, punctuation, word choice, and flow.
  • Ginger – In addition to grammar, Ginger checks for conciseness, inclusive language, and clarity.
  • WhiteSmoke – WhiteSmoke focuses on grammar, style, and punctuation with the option to compare documents.
  • ProWritingAid – Checks for grammar, style, and readability while also flagging repetitive words and phrases.
  • After the Deadline – Scans for spelling, grammar, and style with a contextual thesaurus for suggestions.

Browse the Office Store to find an add-in aligned with your proofreading needs.

Review Documents Aloud

Hearing your writing read aloud is another great way to catch mistakes your eye might skip over.

To use the read aloud tool:

  1. Go to the Review tab.
  2. Click Read Aloud in the Proofing group.
  3. Choose a voice and speed.
  4. Click Read Aloud again to begin the playback, following along in your document.

Listening to each sentence can help you pinpoint spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors you might not have noticed otherwise.

Work With Others

Having a second set of eyes review your writing is never a bad idea. Collaborating with others allows you to leverage more proofreading perspectives.

In Word, you can easily share documents stored on OneDrive or SharePoint. Co-authors can add comments and make edits you can review and incorporate.

Save Time With Keyboard Shortcuts

Rather than clicking through menus and toolbar buttons, keyboard shortcuts can help streamline spell checking:

  • F7 – Initiate spell check
  • Ctrl + F7 – Open spell check settings
  • Shift + F7 – Open thesaurus
  • F1 – View word count
  • Ctrl + Space – Show spelling suggestions

Take the time to memorize shortcuts for the proofing tools you use most. This saves time in the long run.

Don’t Rely Solely on Spell Check

While extremely helpful, understand that Word’s spell checker is not foolproof. It may miss some errors or make incorrect suggestions.

You still need to carefully proofread important documents yourself, double-checking accuracy and clarity. The automated tools serve best as an aid rather than a complete solution.

Key Takeaways

Checking spelling and grammar should be an essential part of your writing workflow in Word. Leveraging the built-in proofing tools can help you produce higher quality, publishable documents.

The key takeaways are:

  • Enable automatic spell check to catch typos as you type
  • Run a manual spelling & grammar check anytime
  • Customize language and grammar rules to suit your needs
  • Use the dictionary and thesaurus to enhance word choice
  • Listen to text read aloud to help spot mistakes
  • Install add-ins for additional proofreading power
  • Learn keyboard shortcuts to speed up the process
  • Always self-proofread in addition to using automated tools

Following these best practices will help you craft polished, professional writing free of distracting errors – without having to rely on time-consuming manual proofreading.

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