We all make mistakes when we type. Luckily, Word comes with several different tools that
can help you proofread your document, and correct any mistakes. Let's take a look.
To run a full spelling and grammar check, go to the Review tab… click the Spelling
and Grammar command… and a pane will open on the right.
From here, Word will walk you through the errors in your document. To correct an error,
click one of their suggestions… then click Change. This will update your document, and
also take you to the next error automatically.
Now, spell check isn't perfect. Sometimes it'll say a word is spelled wrong when it
isn't—like people's names, street names, and other unique proper nouns. If that happens,
you have a couple different options.
Ignore will skip the word one time without changing it. Ignore All will skip the word
every time it appears in your document. Add will add the word to your dictionary permanently,
so it never comes up as an error again. Just make sure the word is spelled correctly before
you go with this option.
At this point, even though I'm not done, I'm going to close the spelling and grammar pane…
so we can take a look at the automatic spelling and grammar check instead.
By default, Word is actually designed to mark spelling and grammar errors while you type—that's
what these little wavy lines are for. So you can check your document manually (like I just
showed you), or you can refer to the marks, and make corrections as you go. Here's how
Red means that there's a spelling error. To correct it, all you have to do is right-click…
then choose the proper spelling from the menu.
Blue means that there's some kind of grammatical error. In this example, it looks I used the
wrong word in the context of the sentence. I should have used "their," as in, "Let's
have the party at their house."
Word can be pretty good at picking up on errors like this, but there are certain things that
it's set to ignore by default, including sentence fragments, poor sentence structure, and other
common grammar mistakes.
To include these things in your grammar check, you'll need to adjust the default proofing
To do this, go to the Backstage view… click Options in the left pane… then navigate
to Proofing in the dialog box.
To customize your grammar settings, look for Writing Style near the bottom of the window.
Then click the Settings button to the right… and another dialog box will appear.
Here you can choose to check Grammar Only, or Grammar & Style, which will cause Word
to be more strict about the style of your.
You can also turn specific items on or off to better suit your needs. If you want Word
to check for sentence fragments and run-ons, for example, make sure you check the box here.
There are still lots of other ways that you can customize your settings depending on your
preferences. For instance, you can stop Word from marking spelling and grammar errors while
you type (if the feature ever gets annoying). You can also turn off frequently confused
words, like there vs. their.
Keep in mind, your spelling and grammar choices only apply to your copy of Word. So if you
ignore any errors, or add a word to your dictionary (for example, your name), those wavy lines
will reappear when you send the document to someone else.
You can avoid this issue by hiding spelling and grammar errors in this particular document.
Just check the two boxes near the bottom of the window.
When you're done, click OK… and now the errors are hidden.
If you use this option, you’ll still want to make sure there are no actual errors in
your document, so you may want to run another Spelling & Grammar check before sending the
document to someone.
This feature can be really useful as long as you're confident that your document is
correct. It's still a good idea to have someone look over your work, just to make sure Word
hasn't missed anything important.