5.3. Spell Check
A spell checker in Excel? Is that supposed to be for people who can't spell 138 correctly? The fact is that more and more people are cramming textcolumn headers, commentary, lists of favorite cereal combinationsinto their spreadsheets. And Excel's designers have graciously responded by providing the very same spell checker that you've used with Microsoft Word. As you may expect, Excel's spell checker examines only text as it sniffs its way through a spreadsheet.
Note: In Office 2003 and Office XP, the same spell checker works in almost every Office program, including Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
To start the spell checker, follow these simple steps:
Move to where you want to start the spell check.
If you want to check the entire worksheet from start to finish, move to the first cell. Otherwise, move to the location where you want to start checking. Or, if you want to check a portion of the worksheet, select the cells you want to check.
Note: Unlike the find-and-replace feature, Excel's spell check can check only one worksheet at a time.
Choose Tools Spelling, or press F7.
If you don't start at the first cell (A1) in your worksheet, Excel will ask you when it reaches the end of the worksheet whether it should continue checking from the beginning of the sheet. If you say yes, it checks the remaining cells and stops when it reaches your starting point (having made a complete pass through all of your cells).
When the spell check finishes, a dialog box informs you that all cells have been checked. If your cells pass the spell check, this dialog box is the only feedback you receive. On the other hand, if Excel discovers any potential spelling errors during its check, it highlights the worksheet cell and displays a Spelling window, shown in Figure 5-13, indicating the offending word and a list of suggestions.
Figure 5-13. When Excel encounters a word it thinks you misspelled, it displays the Spelling window.
Note: Excel doesn't let you edit your file while the Spelling window is active. You either have to click one of the options on the Spelling window or click Cancel to cancel the spell check.
The Spelling window offers a wide range of options:
Click one of the words in the list of suggestions and then click Change to replace your text with the proper spelling. Double-clicking the word has the same effect.
Click one of the words in the list of suggestions and then click Change All to replace your text with the proper spelling. If Excel finds the same mistake elsewhere in your worksheet, it repeats the change automatically.
Click one of the words in the list of suggestions and then click AutoCorrect. Excel makes the change for this cell and, in addition, it adds the correction to its AutoCorrect list (described on Section 2.2.2). That means if you type the same unrecognized word into another cell (or even another workbook), Excel will automatically correct your entry. This option is useful if you've discovered a mistake that you make frequently.
Click Ignore Once to skip a word and tell Excel to keep checking the spreadsheet for it. If the same word appears elsewhere in your spreadsheet, Excel prompts you again to make a correction.
Click Ignore All to skip a word and all other instances of that word throughout your spreadsheet. You can use Ignore All to force Excel to disregard something you don't want to correct, like a person's name. The nice thing about Ignore All is that Excel won't prompt you again if it finds the same name, but it will prompt you again if it finds a different spelling (for example, if you misspelled the name).
Click Add to Dictionary to add a word to Excel's custom dictionary. This is a great step to take if you plan to keep using a word that's not in Excel's dictionary. (For example, a company name or acronym makes a good addition to the custom dictionary.) Not only will Excel ignore any occurrences of this word, but if it finds a similar but slightly different variation of that word, it will provide the custom word in its list of suggestions. Even better, Excel uses the custom dictionary in every workbook you spell check.
Click Cancel to stop the operation altogether. You can then correct the cell manually (or do nothing) and resume the spell check later.