Make the Most of Language Settings in Word 2010

November 22, 2010, By Christian Cawley

Spell checkers are everywhere these days – in browsers, on mobile phones, and of course in word processing applications. For instance Microsoft Word, the most famous of all word processors, has a Spelling & Grammar tool as well as a Thesaurus, and these can be accessed at any time with the press of a button.

In fact, Microsoft Word 2010 offers a remarkable collection of proofing and language tools to enable you to let the best results for your document. These range from the spelling tools we have already mentioned through to the ability to translate text and set alternative languages for proofing and can be used in all types of document layouts.

Microsoft Word 2010 Spelling and Proofing Tools

As you might already know, when a red line appears under a word your word processor is telling you that the word in question is incorrect; at least, it doesn’t appear in the dictionary for your selected language. Your first act should be to right-click the highlighted text and choose from one of the suggested alternatives. If the text which Microsoft Word 2010 is telling you is incorrect is in fact legitimate, then you should use the Add to Dictionary option when you right-click. You can also Ignore the word in question should it be a legitimate word that you won’t be calling on in future documents.

Similarly, a green line will highlight phrases that do not make grammatical sense. Again, right-clicking these and selecting from one of the alternatives is the usual course of action.

Via the Review tab, however, you will find the Proofing tools. These are:

  • Spelling & Grammar
  • Research
  • Thesaurus
  • Word Count

Spelling and Grammar you are now familiar with, and a full spelling and grammar check can be run on your document either via this button or by pressing F7.

The Research tool will open a sidebar in Word from which you can search sources like Encarta and Bing to find suitable information about what you are writing. There are ten resources available here in total by default, with more available via the Research options… link at the foot of the sidebar.

Thesaurus is a great way to find synonyms for most words, and is accessed by clicking the Thesaurus button with a word selected, or by tapping SHIFT + F7. The Thesaurus will search the relevant sources for similar words to the one you have selected – for instance “tapping” will return “patter”, “appointing”, “bugging”, “using” and their various alternatives.

Finally the Word Count tool will come in very handy to anyone who needs to know how many words they have already typed, or how many words are in a selection. While the live word count appears at the bottom of the screen in Word 2010, the Word Count tool provides a more comprehensive count of words, pages, characters, paragraphs, lines and more.

Microsoft Word 2010 Language Tools

These advanced language tools are extremely useful, and with them you can extend the power of Word.

If you have text that you want to change to a foreign language, this can be done in three ways using the Translate tool. Choose between Translate Document, Translate Selected Text (where you must first highlight some text to be translated) and Mini Translator. The translation occurs online, and languages can be set in Translate > Choose Translation Language. It doesn’t take long for the translation to be returned, and this is a better option that going to the trouble of opening a browser, finding a translation service, pasting the text in and waiting for the results.

Finally, you can alter the dictionary language of your Word document via the Language tool. In Set Proofing Language you can choose a language as your dictionary language either for the current document or by clicking the Set As Default button you can select a default language for all documents!

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