How to Spell Check in Microsoft Word on a Mac or PC

735638 How to Spell Check in Microsoft Word on a Mac or PC

Microsoft Word has a built-in spelling and grammar checker that can help you catch typos, spelling mistakes, and basic grammar errors in your documents. Using the spell check feature can save you time and help ensure your writing is clear and professional.

Here is an overview of how to use spell check on both Windows and Mac versions of Word:

Turn on Automatic Spell Checking

By default, Microsoft Word checks spelling automatically as you type. Misspelled words will be underlined in red. You can right-click the word to see suggested corrections.

To enable this automatic spell check:

  • On Windows: Go to File > Options > Proofing and check the box for “Check spelling as you type”
  • On Mac: Go to Word > Preferences > Spelling & Grammar and check “Check spelling as you type”

Manually Check Spelling & Grammar

You can also manually check spelling and grammar for the entire document by clicking the Review tab and selecting Spelling & Grammar, or by pressing F7.

This will open the spell check dialog box. Word will scan the document and show the first potential error. You can choose to ignore or make a correction.

Customize Spell Check Options

To customize how spell check works in Word, click File > Options > Proofing on Windows or Word > Preferences > Spelling & Grammar on Mac.

Here you can:

  • Add words to the custom dictionary so they are not flagged as errors
  • Edit autocorrect settings
  • Choose whether to check grammar with spelling
  • Select additional languages for spell checking

Check Spelling in Other Languages

When you include text in a different language in your document, you can easily check spelling and grammar for that text:

  • On Windows: On the Review tab, select Language and choose the language
  • On Mac: Go to Tools > Language and select the language

Word will automatically switch dictionaries as needed.

Troubleshoot Spell Check Not Working

If spell check is not working properly in Word, here are some things to try:

  • Make sure automatic spell checking is enabled (see instructions above)
  • Check that the correct language is selected for spell check
  • Disable any add-ins that may conflict with spell check functionality
  • Try disabling then re-enabling the spell check tool under File > Options > Add-ins

Use Additional Proofing Tools

With Microsoft 365, Word includes additional proofing tools you can use to polish your documents:

  • Editor: Checks grammar, style, clarity, conciseness, formal language, and more
  • Researcher: Finds and inserts relevant quotes, citations, and images to support your writing

The editor is great for catching complex grammar and style issues. Researcher helps instantly build credibility through citations.


Using spell check in Word is essential for catching minor errors before they make it to your final draft. Mastering the built-in spelling and grammar checker can save you significant time and help you easily maintain consistent, polished, professional documents.

Enable automatic checking to catch misspellings on-the-fly. Manually run a full document check before finalizing any important papers. And leverage tools like Editor and Researcher to take your writing to the next level.

With the power of spell check, you can feel confident that your documents make the best impression possible!

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