The spelling checker doesn't alert you to the possibility that a word may be the wrong word, even though it's spelled correctly. Purpose or porpoise? Mourning or morning? These mistakes make me look real dumb.
You said it. The spelling checker actually does catch a few correctly spelled problems of word choice and grammarfor example, it'll suggest "must have" instead of "must of" and "there are" instead of "their are," because these examples are always wrong. But beyond that, the spelling checker can't help you if you've got the wrong word. This is a job for a dictionary, a helpful colleague or friend, or a professional editor.
If you don't have a dictionary on hand, check out Merriam-Webster Online (
...and Missed on Purpose
But I spellchecked my document all the way through! How can you tell me it still has mistakes? Vile pedant!
You need to tweak the settings for the spelling checker. Choose Tools » Options and click the Spelling & Grammar tab. See whether the "Ignore words in UPPERCASE" box is checked. If you use uppercase much in your documents (for example, for headings), uncheck this box to make sure that the spelling checker checks the uppercase words as well.
The "Ignore words with numbers" option (which is also checked by default) can also leave typos in your documen5tsI mean, documentsif you strike the number keys by mistak-e.
If the spelling checker still fails to catch obvious mistakes, check the language formatting of the mistakes. If someone has applied the "Do not check spelling or grammar" option to the text, the spelling checker will glide right past it. Select the text, choose Tools » Language » Set Language, make sure the correct language is applied, and verify that the "Do not check spelling or grammar" box is unchecked.
Prevent Word from Spellchecking Code
I'm writing a programming paper, and Word is driving me nuts. I've added a bunch of terms to the custom dictionary, but each time I run the spelling checker, it queries almost everything in the blocks of code in the paper.
Apply the "Do not check spelling or grammar" option to your code. The best way to do this is to modify the style that you use for the code. Display the Modify Style dialog box for your code style, check the "Add to template" box, click the Format button, and choose Language from the pop-up menu. In the Language dialog box, check the "Do not check spelling or grammar" box and click the OK button to close each of the dialog boxes in turn.