6.1. Turning on Spelling and Grammar
Spelling errors make any document look unprofessional, so
ignoring Word's spell checker is just plain silly. And while
grammar and style are largely
, the grammar-checking tool
can help you spot glaring errors (like mixing up "it's" and "its").
When Microsoft first added these tools to Word, some people
resented the intrusion, as discussed in the box in Section 6.1. The
fact is, you're in control. You can choose whether you want Word to
check your work as you type, flagging
questionable grammar (Figure 6-2), or whether you prefer to get the
words on the page first, and then review the spelling and grammar
at the end.
Access to Word's Spelling and Grammar
checker is on the Review
, along with the thesaurus, the translation
tool, and a slew of Web-based research tools.
When you use the "Check spelling as you
type" option, Word places wavy red lines under possibly misspelled
words. Some people consider this a distraction from their writing
and choose to do a manual spell check when they've finished
Follow these steps to set up Word's spelling and
grammar-checking tools to work the way you like to work:
Click the Office button (Alt+F) and in the lower-right
corner of the menu, click Word Options
The list on the left gives you several
that divide the
Options into different groups. The options for the spelling and
grammar tools are in Proofing.
Click the Proofing category (Figure 6-3)
The panel on the right changes to show checkboxes and buttons
grouped into four categories: "AutoCorrect options," "When
correcting spelling in Office programs," "When correcting spelling
in Word," "When correcting grammar in Word," and "Exceptions
Not only can you choose whether Word
checks your spelling and grammar as you type, but Word also gives
you a bunch of ways to fine-tune the program's level of
persnicketyness. (By the way, this chapter was originally written
in Word, and that last word was flagged with a red underline.)
on the options in "When correcting spelling for
Office programs" for the types of errors you want Word
to worry about
For example, Internet addresses and filenames often set off the
spell checker, resulting in a distracting sea of red waves. You can
also tell Word to ignore words in uppercase and words that include
, which are often company
or special terms that Word
doesn't know how to spell. Use the checkboxes to have the spell
checker ignore these types of words.
You can "teach" Word how to spell these
unfamiliar words and include them in spell checks by adding them to
Word's spelling dictionary (Section 6.2.3).
Word starts out with background spell checking turned on;
if it annoys you, turn off the "Check spelling as you type"
This unassuming checkbox is the most important option. Turning
it on turns on the wavy red lines under misspelled words.
Sometimes the word you type is spelled correctly, but it's the
wrong word in the context. For example, "I'll see you in too weeks"
is a contextual error. Word checks for this type of mistake if you
turn on the "Use contextual spelling" checkbox.
The Wavy Line Debate
When Microsoft first introduced background spell checking and
the wavy red line, it was roundly pooh-poohed by a large portion of
the Word-using population. Some people didn't like the distraction
of the red
popping up all over. These lines interfered with
their concentration on their work. Other people noticed that
background spell checking slowed down already slow computers. And,
of course there were the folks who
it unnecessary. "I
always check my spelling when I'm
to ship Word with background spell checking
turned on. After all, people who didn't like it had the option to
turn it off.
, the wavy lines have won some converts. Folks who
once found background spell checking distracting
to leave it
on as they upgraded Word.
Those people who were new to Word probably didn't know they
could turn it off. Computers continued to increase in horsepower,
so speed was no longer a big issue. If your computer can edit
video, it probably won't be stressed by handling spell checking in
the background, even for a very long document. The Automatic spell
checking isn't going away and the solution is the same as always.
and set up Word
By the way, if you
want Word to check
spelling in the background, you can make it stop.
(Alt+F, I), and then click the Proofing option on the left. The
third group of options is named "When correcting spelling and
grammar in Word." Turn off the "Check spelling as you type"
checkbox, and you've turned off background spell checking.
If you're interested in some grammar help from Word, turn
on the "Check grammar with spelling" checkbox
This setting makes Word flag questionable construction as you
work, with a wavy
underline. Or you can leave it
turned off and check grammar when you're through writing, as
described in Section 6.3.
If you don't want Word checking your grammar at all, turn off
the "Check grammar with spelling" checkbox.
To fine-tune your grammar options, click
the Settings button to open the Grammar Settings box (Figure 6-4).
In this box, you can control whether the grammar checker flags
capitalization, run on sentences, and so on.
Click OK to close the Word Options box
Your new spelling and grammar settings go into effect.
You encounter even more debate and
personal opinion when it comes to setting rules about grammar and
style. Word gives you more options for controlling the program's
tendency to flag your immortal prose.