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How to Change the Default Spelling Check Dictionary in Microsoft Word

Updated April 17, 2017

Microsoft Word has a spell check feature that highlights all the words that are spelt incorrectly in a document. Almost all U.S. computers use English as a default language with spell check functions. As a Word user, you have the option to change the default setting to best suit your needs.

Click "Start" and select "All Programs." Scroll up to find the folder for Microsoft Office. Click on the folder to find the shortcut for Microsoft Word. Click on the shortcut. You also may have a Word shortcut on your desktop, and the program can be launched that way.

In Microsoft Word 2003 and earlier, click the "Tools" pulldown menu and select "Options." If you are using Word 2007, click on the Microsoft Office logo at the top left corner of your screen and click on "Word Options."

In Word 2003, click on the "Spelling & Grammar" tab in the "Options" dialogue box. Using Word 2007, click on "Proofing."

Select the "Custom Dictionaries" button for either versions of Word.

Click "Modify..." Select the name of the dictionary from the list that you wish to set as the default.

Click on "Change Default."

Click on the "Language" drop down menu to choose a default language for spell check.

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About the Author

Suvro Banerji is a recent graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism where he earned a dual degree in broadcast news and political science. He began writing professionally in 2005 at KOMU-8 News (NBC) where he worked as a multimedia producer. Banerji has also interned with CNN for two consecutive years.