How to Stop Microsoft Word from Changing Spellcheck Language

415866 How to Stop Microsoft Word from Changing Spellcheck Language

Microsoft Word offers spellchecking in multiple languages. However, you may sometimes encounter documents where the spellcheck language gets changed automatically to something other than your preferred language like US English.

This article explains the common reasons why Word’s spellcheck language may change on its own, and provides solutions to fix the language back to your preferred setting.

Why Does the Spellcheck Language Change in Word?

Here are some common reasons Word may switch the spellchecking language without your input:

  • The document was originally written in a different language – If you open a file that was authored in UK English, Spanish, or other languages, Word will retain that language’s spellcheck setting when you open that document.
  • You copied text from another source – If you copy content from a website or document that has text marked as a different language, pasting that content can override your existing document’s language.
  • You have multiple keyboard layouts installed – If you toggle between keyboard layouts within Word, like English and Spanish, it will also toggle the spellchecking language.
  • The “Detect language automatically” setting is enabled – This setting, found under Review > Language > Set Proofing Language, will attempt to detect languages automatically within your document text and switch the spellcheck accordingly.

How to Fix the Spellcheck Language in Word

To resolve issues with Word changing the spell check language unexpectedly, use these solutions:

Set the Proofing Language for the Entire Document

  • Select the entire document text
  • On the Review tab, choose Language, and select the desired language
  • Uncheck the boxes for “Do not check spelling or grammar” and “Detect language automatically”
  • Click OK

This will explicitly set the spellcheck for the whole document, overriding any inconsistent language settings from pasted text.

Create a Default Template with Your Preferred Language

Alternatively, you can create a custom template for new documents with your preferred language set, to avoid issues when starting new documents:

  • Open a new blank document
  • On the Review tab, set the desired proofing language
  • Click the File tab and choose Save As
  • Change Save as type to Word Template (*.dotx)
  • Give the template a name like “My Default Template”
  • Click Save
  • Now when starting new documents from this template, your language will be retained

Check the Style Language Settings

The text formatting style called “Normal” controls basic document text preferences like font, spacing, and also proofing language.

If you have consistency issues within the same document, check if your Normal style has a different language set. Here’s how:

  • On the Home tab, right-click Normal in the Styles pane and choose Modify
  • On the Format menu, choose Language
  • Choose the desired language, click OK, then OK again to save the style

Disable Automatic Language Detection

If Word keeps changing languages on you automatically, the “Detect language automatically” option is likely enabled.

To disable it:

  • Go to Review > Language > Set Proofing Language
  • Uncheck the “Detect language automatically” checkbox
  • Select your desired language
  • Click OK

This will prevent Word from switching your proofing language as you type, allowing you to retain your manually set preferences.

When to Use Multiple Languages

While automatic language detection causes issues for some users, others may want to enable multi-language checking to catch typos as they type content in multiple languages.

To enable this, turn on “Detect language automatically” and add multiple languages in the Set Proofing Language options. Just be aware that this can lead to incorrectly flagged spelling errors in proper foreign words like names or terms that are spelled correctly.

Overall, fixing unexpected language changes comes down to controlling the proofing language settings manually, creating consistent templates, and disabling auto-detection if it causes more harm than benefit.

With the right settings tuned for your specific needs, you can ensure Word spellchecks your documents reliably in your language of choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common troubleshooting questions when dealing with proofing language issues in Word:

Why does Word change to US English even when my Windows display language is set differently?

Word takes precedence from your Editing Languages preferences set within Options > Language. Make sure your desired language is at the top of that list.

How do I stop the language from changing when I switch keyboard layouts?

Go to File > Options > Advanced and disable the option that says “Automatically switch keyboard to match language of surrounding text”.

Why does text copied from websites change the language?

Web pages can have language metadata that gets carried over on paste. After pasting, immediately set the proofing language explicitly to override.

How can I tell what language is set for a section of text?

Select the text, and the current proofing language will be shown in Word’s status bar at the bottom.


Microsoft Word provides a robust set of language-based editing and spellcheck features. But occasionally the program makes the wrong assumptions about which language you want active.

By understanding what causes unintended language changes, and how to override Word’s language decisions with manual settings, you can maintain consistent spellchecking that matches your document needs.

The tips in this guide provide the key techniques for controlling proofing language behavior in Word, so you can minimize frustration and optimize the spelling and grammar tools for your use case.

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