This browser does not support basic Web standards, preventing the display of our site's intended design. May we suggest that you upgrade your browser?

Microsoft Office 2003

Working with Spell Check

Spell Check is a feature that checks for spelling errors in a document. Spell Check can be useful in preventing embarrassing mistakes, but be aware that Spell Check is not always right.

Spelling can be checked simultaneously with grammar. For information on checking grammar, refer to Word 2003: Working with Grammar Check.

NOTE: Although options and instructions vary slightly by program, the Spell Check feature is available in all Office programs. This document uses Word's Spell Check feature as an example.

return to topActivating Automatic Spell Check

By default, Spell Check is automatically on whenever an Office program is open. When you turn this feature off, Spell Check will not run as you work on your document. The feature can be easily activated using the Options dialog box. You can also check the spelling in a document after you are finished typing.

  1. From the Tools menu, select Options...
    The Options dialog box appears.

  2. Select the Spelling & Grammar tab

  3. Under Spelling, select Check spelling as you type

  4. Click OK
    Misspelled words appear underlined with a wavy red line.
    NOTE: This feature marks spelling errors; it does not correct them.

return to topModifying the Dictionary

Modifying text in a dictionary can be useful so that Spell Check does not mark certain words and names as misspelled. In order to remove words from or add words to from a dictionary, you must first open the dictionary from the Custom Dictionaries dialog box. Your changes to the dictionary are then saved for future use.

  1. From the Tools menu, select Options...
    The Options dialog box appears.

  2. Select the Spelling & Grammar tab

    The Custom Dictionaries dialog box appears.

  4. From the Dictionary list scroll box, select the dictionary to be modified

  5. Click MODIFY...
    The Custom Dictionary appears. If this is your first time modifying the dictionary, the list will contain no items.

  6. To add words to the dictionary,
    1. In the Word text box, type the word to be added
    2. Click ADD
      The word appears in the Dictionary scroll box.

  7. To delete words from the dictionary,
    1. Select the word(s) to be deleted
    2. Click DELETE
      The word(s) disappears from the Dictionary scroll list.

  8. When finished, click OK

  9. Click OK

  10. To return to your Office program, click OK

return to topCorrecting Spelling

When the dictionary recognizes a word as misspelled, the word is underlined with a wavy red line. You can correct misspelled text through the Quick menu or through a dialog box. For words that are often misspelled or mistyped, you may use AutoCorrect to automatically correct the mistakes as they are typed.

For information on correcting grammar, refer to Word 2003: Working with Grammar Check.

Correcting Spelling: Quick Menu Option

Using the Quick menu to modify misspelled text allows you to manage your misspelled word(s) quickly and easily.

  1. Right click the misspelled word » select the appropriate option:

    Quick Menu Option Action
    Spelling Suggestions Gives word choices as spelling suggestions for the misspelled word.
    Ignore All Ignores that word and every other instance of that word.
    Add to Dictionary Adds the word to the custom dictionary.
    AutoCorrect Provides word choices for the automatic correction of the misspelled word.
    Language Allows the misspelled word to be corrected according to the selected language.
    Spelling... Opens the Spelling and Grammar dialog box, which allows you to change the misspelled word.

Correcting Spelling: Dialog Box Option

Using the dialog box option is a little more time-consuming, but you have more options for correcting misspelled words. 

  1. From the Tools menu, select Spelling and Grammar...
    Click SPELLING AND GRAMMARSpelling and Grammar button
    Press [F7]
    The Spelling and Grammar dialog box appears.
    Spelling and Grammar dialog box

  2. Make the desired selection for each misspelling
    NOTE: The dialog box options include all Quick menu options in addition to the options described in the following table.

    Dialog Box Option Action


    Changes the word to the selected suggestion.

    Change All

    Changes all identical misspellings to the selected suggestion.


    Changes the word in the current document and continues to make this correction in the future.

  3. When Spell Check is complete, in the dialog box that appears, click OK

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.