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One of the great things about word processors is their built-in spelling checkers. Word has a good one and you can configure it to work as you type or run it manually when you're finished with your document. I love Word's spelling checker and I admit that I rely on it too much. Mostly to catch typos made by fingers that type faster than my mind thinks. I wouldn't be surprised, however, if my dependence on Word's spelling checker was the cause of my deteriorating spelling skills. Word also has a grammar checker that can work in the background as you type or be running in conjunction with a manual spelling check.
I am not nearly as fond of the grammar checker. I intend to keep it turned off. Why? Well, I am a writer and I write for a living. I don't need a computer algorithm questioning my grammar. I am not saying my grammar is perfect. I just don't like being bugged by Word's commentary on it. If you'd like some grammar tips as you write, you might want to leave it turned on. That said let's see how these two features work. Now I have opened up a document called Spelling and Grammar, which I have purposely peppered with errors. By default Word's spelling and grammar checkers are turned on, configured to check spelling as you type.
If this feature hasn't been turned off in your copy of Word you should see the same green and red squiggly underlines as I do. If you don't see any at all, you need to turn these features on. To do this, pull down the Word menu and choose Preferences and then click Spelling and Grammar. We want to make sure that Check spelling as you type and Check grammar as you type are turned on. These are global in Word and they're not set on a document by document basis. While we are in here let's look at a few more important settings. Hide spelling errors in this document will remove the red squiggly underlines from any potential spelling errors that Word finds in this document.
You probably don't want to turn that on unless you plan to ignore the spelling checke'rs automatic checking feature. These ignore options here are also important. If you want Word to include words in upper case and words with numbers and Internet addresses and spelling checks, you should turn these checkboxes off. I keep them turned on. I don't want to be bugged when Word can't recognize an acronym or a URL. Now under Grammar you can tell where to show possible grammar problems in Notebook Layout View as well as other views.
I don't recommend that unless you commonly take notes in full grammar perfect sentences. Hide grammatical errors in this document will remove the green squiggly lines from under potential grammar errors in the current document only. That's a good way to ignore the grammar checker without actually turning it off globally. We leave this as is. The Check grammar with spelling option turns on the grammar checker with a manual spelling checker. Leave that turned on. We will take a look at that later on. If you've made any changes in the dialog, just click OK to accept them.
Now this document has a bunch of potential errors and Word is flagging them. Red underlines are potential spelling errors. Green underlines are potential grammar errors. I keep saying potential, because it's up to you to decide whether they really are errors and what should be done about them. Now the way I usually work with the spelling checker is to right-click or Ctrl+Click on each marked word. A menu comes up with options. Let's try that for this word here. I am going to right-click on it and here's a menu of options.
At the top of this menu will always be suggested corrections. In this particular case, we only have one suggested correction and it happens to be the right word. Below that you see Ignore and Ignore All. Ignore will ignore this occurrence of the word. Ignore All will ignore every occurrence of this word in the document. You might want to use that if a word is spelled correctly, but you don't want add it to the dictionary. The Add option will add that current word to the dictionary and I have to caution you about this.
If you add an incorrectly spelled word in the dictionary, Word will never flag it again as incorrect. So be really careful about what you add to the dictionary. The AutoCorrect option is kind of cool, because what we'll do is it'll add this word to your AutoCorrect settings. If you select this option, it'll correct the new document, add it to AutoCorrect's settings, and then from this point forward anytime you type this word exactly as it's spelled in the document right now, it will automatically be corrected to the correct spelling.
That's really useful if this is a common typo or common spelling problem they've got, because it will automatically correct it for you and not bother you again. The spelling option will open up the Spelling and Grammar dialog, so you can use that to do the check. We are not going to use that right now. What I want to here is just select the correct spelling and it will replace it in the document. I can do that again with the next problem here. So I am going to right-click on that to see what's bugging Word about that. Now the word very is spelled correctly here, but Word is flagging it as a repeated word.
Well, the author of this letter could be very, very happy, or she could have just made a mistake. If you click Ignore, this option will stay. If you click Delete Repeated Word, it goes. In this particular instance I am going to ignore it. Notice that the red underline goes away. Word won't bother us again about this word in the document. You can deal with grammar problems the same way. For example, there is a grammar problem right here. It's a little bit difficult to see, but the word an is underlined with the green squiggly.
So I can right-click on that to see what's bugging Word. It says that it should replace the word an with and. And if I look at that I can see sure enough that looks right to me. It's probably just a typo. So I will choose "and," and it will replace it. Now if you have had trouble seeing these marks especially in long document, you can click the Spelling and Grammar status button in the status bar. That's this thing right here. If there is a red x, Word has a problem. If not, Word thinks everything is okay.
Click the button to display a menu of options for each word. So when I click this, it will go to the next problem just right here. You can then click the option that you'd like to fix it. So in this particular case, it looks at the typo. It should be the word year, which is right up here. I can click it to replace it. You can also choose Tools > Spelling and Grammar. Pull down the Tools menu > Spelling and Grammar, or you can press Option+Command+L to open the Spelling and Grammar dialog. This in effect begins a manual spelling check.
It highlights the first problem it finds. Now here is a good example of Word's grammar knowledge. In this particular case, it's flagged the word goes in this sentence. Should it really be "go," which is what it's suggesting? The subject is 5%, not sales. I think its okay as it is, but then again I never said my grammar was perfect. In this particular instance I'm going to ignore it. So I will just click Ignore. Next it finds the spelling problem crackr and you are sure enough that is spelled wrong.
Here is the suggestion down here. Cracker is fine. So I can make sure it's selected and click Change. Finally, it moves down to the bottom of the document where it finds the name of the person who wrote the letter and that name is spelled correctly. In fact, it's there twice and spelled currently both times. In this particular instance, this is likely to be a name or word that we use over and over in Word. So we will probably want to add it to the dictionary. You can click the Add button. It adds it to the dictionary, removes the red line, and it completes the spelling check.
I will click OK here. Now the Spelling and Grammar check is complete and I addressed all the problems that Word identified. But is that all the problems there were? Actually, no. This document has an error in that Word didn't find. If you look up here in the first paragraph, you will see the words they are, they'e. It really should be their. Word didn't see this as a problem, but it's wrong and that's my point. Word can be a good spelling and grammar checking assistant, but it's no substitute for proofreading by a person with real-life spelling and grammar skills.
If a misspelled word spells another word Microsoft Word probably won't catch it. It's up to you to make sure your documents are error-free.
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