Join Maria Langer for an in-depth discussion in this video Editing the custom dictionary, part of Word 2013: Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts.
By default, Word checks spelling as you type feature is turned on. This tells Word to compare the words that you typed, to the words in its dictionaries. If a word doesn't appear in the dictionary, Word flags it by placing a squiggly red underline under it. Here's an example. I am looking at the file name, dictionary one, which can be found in the chapter four folder, inside the exercise files folder. Word doesn't know this word here, Roanna. Now, Word knows some names but not every name.
Roanna is an usual name, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that Word doesn't know it. And if I scroll down in this list. I can see that there's some other names that Word doesn't know. I've got Daisy, Suki, Wilomena, Kiona. These are unusual names. Word also, doesn't know many technical and scientific terms that you might use in your documents. For example, I often write about flying helicopters, and I use words specific to aviation and helicopter aerodynamics. I've put some of these words in the document called "Dictionary Two", which is also in the chapter four folder.
Autorotative, antitorque, semirigid, fenestron. These are all words, that I might use when I'm writing about helicopters. They're real words, but Microsoft Word, simply doesn't know them. Because Word doesn't know every word you type, it's feature set includes the ability to add words to its dictionary. You probably already do that all the time. The quickest and easiest way, is to simply right-click on the word. This brings up a menu of options. Although Word suggests, a correct spelling of authoritative,.
I don't want to correct it because it's not wrong. To get rid of the red underline, I can either ignore all instances or add it to the dictionary. If I use this word a lot, I'll add it to the dictionary. The red underline disappears, and the word is added to the dictionary. Let's add the rest of these words the same way. Anti-torque, semi-rigid, and fenestron. Of course you could do this with names as well. Let's go back to that other document.
I'll right click Roanne. As you can see, Word already knows a lot of similar names, it's suggesting them at the top of the menu, but we'll add this one. Of course I could go through the rest of the names in this document and add them as well, but I'll skip that for now. I think you get the idea. This is just one way to add words to the dictionary. I'll show you another way in a moment. What's important to know, is that Word actually has multiple dictionaries. It has a built in dictionary for the language you're writing in, as well as at least one user dictionary.
It's the user dictionary that you are adding the words to. Now suppose you're working with this employee directory and you discover that' Roanna is really not the correct spelling of this marketing person's name. Instead it is Roanne, ending with an "e' instead of an 'a'. If you fix it in the list, just select that 'a'. Make it an e, it once again gets flagged as a potential error. While you can easily add it to the dictionary as I've already done, the incorrect spelling is already in the dictionary too.
So anytime you work with a document that spells your name with an A instead of an E, it would not be flagged as a potential error. That's a problem. Fortunately, you can also remove or modify words in the user dictionary. This makes it possible, to keep your dictionary accurate, so Word flags all unknown words, even words you once thought were correctly spelled. Let's take a look at this. I'll start by clicking File, and then click Options. And then click proofing. There are a few settings I want to review, before we jump into the dictionary.
First, look at these three options here. They tell Word, and other Microsoft Office applications to ignore specific words. Ignore words in uppercase, tells Word to ignore any words that are written in all uppercase letters. You might want to toggle this off, if you often use acronyms and you want word to check them for you. Remember, you can always add acronyms to the dictionary. Ignore words that contain numbers, tells Word to ignore any words that include numbers. Ignore internet and file addresses, tells Word to ignore anything that looks like a URL or a path name.
Of these, I usually keep the top check box turned off, but it's entirely up to you. Down here, check spelling as you type, enables Word's automatic spelling check feature. If this option were turned off, you would not see the red squiggly underlines under words that Microsoft Word does not recognize, unless you did a manual spell check. I recommend keeping this option turned on. Mark grammar errors as you type, turns on Word's automatic grammar checking feature. This is normally turned on by default, but I have turned it off.
When enabled, it displays blue squiggly underlines under what Word might think is a grammar error. I don't use this feature, but that's mostly because I'm a writer and I don't think I need Word's help. Use it if you think it could help you. Now let's look at the custom dictionaries. Click the custom dictionaries button right here. The custom dictionaries dialogue box, displays a list of all the custom dictionaries currently in use. By default there's just one, custom.dic. You can create new custom dictionaries if desired, or add a dictionary created by someone else.
I'll tell you a little bit more about that in a moment. For now, we want to look at the custom dictionary, and make changes to it. I'll make sure the name of the custom dictionary is selected, and it is, and I'll click Edit Word List. A dialog box opens. It displays a list of all the words that are currently in the dictionary. You can see all the words that we've added. Our problem is that the word Roanna appears in the dictionary, and I know that it's wrong. I want to remove it. So Word flags it as an error the next time I type it.
So I'll click the word, and then I'll click delete. The word's removed from the dictionary. I can also add words to the dictionary in this dialogue. For example, suppose I want to add the correct spelling of Roann's name. I can type it in the box. And then click Add. That adds it to the dictionary. As you might imagine, the Delete All button will delete all the words in the list. I don't want to do that. But if you wanted to clear out the dictionary and start fresh, that's what you'd click.
When you're finished making changes in this dialog box, click OK. Now there are a few more things you can do with the Custom Dictionaries dialog box. And I just want to tell you a little bit about them. For example, you could click the new button, and use the dialogue box that appears to create a new dictionary. You could fill it with words that you use in company documents, such as brass names, acronyms, technical terms, and employee names. Once the new dictionary is created, you can share it with co-workers giving the correct spelling of words they'll need in company documents.
If you get a dictionary file from someone else, you can add it to your custom dictionary's list. Just click the Add button, and then use the dialog box that appears to locate, select, and open the new dictionary. If I have multiple user dictionaries and I decide I no longer want to use one of them, I can delete it. I would just select the dictionary in the list, and click Remove. Now at this point, I revise the default custom dictionary to remove the incorrect word Roanna, and add the correct word Roanne. I'll click Ok to close the custom dictionaries dialogue box, and then I'll click OK to close Word Options.
Back in the document the name Roanne which had been marked as possibly incorrect is no longer marked. Word accepted the new spelling I provided, but if I change it back to Roana, the word becomes flagged again. I could right click the word, and see that Roane appears as one of the suggested spellings. So, as we've seen here, its very easy to maintain a custom dictionary that includes all the unusual words or names you use in your documents. You can add words to the default custom dictionary, right from within Word document.
You can also add or remove words in a custom dictionary, using the custom dictionaries dialog box. And finally you can add or remove entire custom dictionaries full of words. Clearly, Word's custom dictionary feature makes it easy to check the spelling in your document. And flag only the truly unknown words.
- Tips for applying styles
- Clearing all the formatting from a document
- Opening recent files
- Changing default saving options
- Using time-saving keyboard shortcuts
- Using Quick Parts
- Enter text quickly with AutoText
- Using AutoCorrect to automatically enter text
- Inserting symbols and special characters
- Rearranging text with the Spike
- Editing the user dictionary
- Setting default document options
- Tips on styles and revealing formatting
- Creating drop caps
- Working with hyperlinks
- Shortcuts for navigating your document
- Wrapping text around images
- Tips for page breaks
- Embedding fonts
- Adding watermarks