Edit Your Microsoft Word 2010 Dictionary

December 4, 2010, By Christian Cawley

Microsoft Word 2010 affords a variety of formatting, layout and even dictionary options, which are particularly useful for checking your spelling and grammar.

However the dictionaries included in Microsoft Word are quite limited; they’re based only on a specific subset of the English language (or whichever language you have the dictionary set to) and as such cannot correctly identify jargon terms, unusual names or use of occasional foreign terms that have wide use in English such as “cul de sac”.

As a result of these limitations, and because all users of Microsoft Word are different, the functionality is included in the word processor to make adding new terms extremely easy. There are several ways of doing this, from adding words on the fly to editing the dictionary directly.

Edit the Word dictionaryAdding Terms to the Microsoft Word Dictionary

The most common way to add new words into the dictionary is during a spellcheck. With your Word document open, tap F7 to begin the spellcheck and wait for Word to find a word which you find acceptable but which the software designates as “illegal” – this will be highlighted in blue and illustrated with a wavy red line, as with a standard spelling mistake or typo.

To accept the term, simply choose Add to dictionary to then add the word to your current language dictionary. You can also do this without even resorting to the spellcheck tool – simply look out for words with the wavy red underline and right-click them to either change the spelling or Add to dictionary.

Editing the Custom Dctionary

To add words directly into the Microsoft Word 2010 custom dictionary – which is created as soon as you start adding new terms – you need to go to File > Options > Proofing > Custom Dictionaries and use the Edit Word List option to start adding words. This is easily done – simply type the new word into the box and click Add. You can also Delete individual words from the list or even Delete all to start from scratch. In the Custom Dictionary screen you are also able to add a new dictionary with the New… button, Add… a dictionary you might have created elsewhere or Remove any dictionaries you have selected.

Use AutoCorrect to Resolve Common Typos

One common proofing tool that is used often without us even knowning about it is AutoCorrect. This is the tool that changes “abscence” into “absence” and “lookign” into “looking” and can be adjusted to add even more terms. As you can see, this is a particularly useful tool if you are prone to making the same typo repeatedly.

Settings for the AutoCorrect tool are available via Proofing > AutoCorrect Options… > AutoCorrect.

You will see that there are some general options first of all which are all activated by default – these control the changing of two capital letters at the start of a sentence being corrected to just one, capitalization of day names, and so on.

Lower down you will see a list of symbols and characters, which denotes for instance how the copyright symbol should be displayed after being entered as (c). This section should also be used to enter a regular typo along with the correct spelling so that you never have to go back and change it again.

To do this, first ensure the Replace text as you type box is ticked. Next, enter your common typo under Replace: and the correct spelling under With:. Click Add to apply the change; if you make the different common typographical errors on the same word, simply add these as well.

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