For Seniors: How to Check Your Spelling and Grammar in Office 2010

If you’re not a great speller, you’re in luck. All the Microsoft Office apps share a common spell-check feature. In addition to checking your spelling, you can also check your grammar. When you see red or green wavy underlines, you know something is wrong with your spelling or grammar!

Checking your spelling in Office 2010

The spell-check feature tells you what words don’t appear in its dictionary. While you work in an application, your words are compared against the dictionary, and anything that doesn’t appear in the dictionary is marked with a red wavy underline.

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Right-click any red-underlined word to see a menu of choices. From this menu, you can

  • Click one of the suggestions, and Word immediately changes the word to it.

  • Click Ignore to mark this instance only as okay, and Word does nothing.

  • Click Ignore All to mark all instances of the word as okay in this document only.

  • Click Add to Dictionary to add this word so that it’s never marked as misspelled again on your computer, in any document.

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  • Add to Dictionary is useful when you frequently write a word that the dictionary doesn’t recognize, like an unusual last name or the name of a company whose name is intentionally misspelled, like Kool Kottage. Adding the word to the dictionary helps you get it right and cuts down on the annoyance of approving it every time it pops up.

  • Point to AutoCorrect; from the menu that opens, click one of the suggestions to always correct this misspelling with the chosen suggestion in the future, without asking.

  • Point to Language; from the menu that opens, click a different language to mark this word as being in a foreign language so that it’s checked with a different dictionary (the one for that language).

    You can’t do this check unless you have foreign-language dictionaries installed.

  • Click Spelling to open the full-blown spell checker, covered in a bit.

  • Click Look Up to look the word up in an online reference source.

If you’d rather not check your spelling by paging through your work, looking for the red underlines, and then right-clicking each one as you find it, go for the full Spell Check feature instead. It asks you to choose from a similar set of options, but it automatically moves you from one potential error to the next so that you don’t have to hunt for the underlines.

One difference when you use the full Spell Check is that a Change All command is available. It enables you to change all instances of the misspelling at once in the document. But be careful, because you may accidentally make some changes you didn’t intend.

To start a spell check, choose either Review→Spelling (in Excel or PowerPoint) or Review→Spelling and Grammar (in Word).

Checking grammar

Word also has a built-in grammar checker in addition to the spell checker. Grammar errors appear with a green wavy underline, and you can spot-check them just like with spelling. You can also work with them from the Spelling and Grammar dialog box. The Ignore Rule button suppresses further checking for the grammar rule that was broken in the notification that appears; the Explain button pops up an explanation of the grammar rule being applied.

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