How to Fix Spelling Errors in Word 2016

By Dan Gookin

Word 2016’s spell-check feature works the second you start typing. Offending or unknown words are immediately underlined with the red zigzag of shame. Leave the word be, correct it, or add it to your own dictionary just to spite Mr. Webster.

  • Spell checking works thanks to a digital dictionary stocked with zillions of words, all spelled correctly. Every time you type a word, it’s checked against that dictionary. When the word isn’t found, it’s marked as suspect in your document.

    Don’t let the red zigzag of a failed elementary education perturb you. Keep typing. Focus on getting your thoughts on the page. Go back later to fix the inevitable typos.

  • The spell-check feature also flags repeated words by underlining them with a red zigzag. Your choice is to either delete the repeated word or just ignore it.

  • Word doesn’t spell-check certain types of words, such as words with numbers in them or words written in all capitals, which are usually abbreviations.

  • You can disable automatic spell checking.

  • An alternative to on-the-fly spell checking is to perform a manual spell check.

Fixing a misspelled word

Don’t let that red zigzag of shame vex you any longer! Follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the misspelled word.

    Up pops a shortcut menu, as shown.

  2. Choose from the list the word you intended to type.

    In the figure, the word laugh fits the bill. Click that word and it replaces the spurious word.

    Deal with that typo.

    Deal with that typo.

If the word you intended to type isn’t on the list, don’t fret: Just take another stab at spelling the word phonetically and then correct it again. Or, what the hey: Use a traditional dictionary (the paper kind).

Dealing with incorrectly flagged words

Occasionally, Word’s spell checker bumps into a word it doesn’t recognize, such as your last name or perhaps your city. Word dutifully casts doubt on the word by underlining it with the notorious red zigzag. Yes, this is one of those cases where the computer is wrong.

To correct the incorrect spell check, right-click the word. Choose one of two options on the shortcut menu (shown earlier):

  • Ignore All: Select this command when the word is properly spelled and you don’t want Word to keep flagging it as misspelled in the current document.

  • Add to Dictionary: This command adds the word to a custom dictionary. The word is no longer flagged as misspelled in the current document or any other documents.

    If the word is intentionally misspelled and you don’t want to ignore all instances or add it to the custom dictionary, just leave it be.