Software

Suppress the Office custom dictionary for faster spell checking

If you've added specialized terms to your dictionary, Office applications will refer to it as well as to the main dictionary every time you run a spell check. To speed things up a bit, tell Office to ignore your custom dictionary unless you need it.

If you work or play in a specialized industry, you might have a special dictionary of custom terms that Office uses as it checks spelling. Office maintains a main dictionary of its own. As you add words during a spell check task, Office creates a custom dictionary for the words you add. Then, Office uses both dictionaries when you run Spell Check and as you type.

If your custom dictionary is extensive, the process of checking both dictionaries can slow things down. That's because Office tags more words as possibly misspelled. This additional work is unnecessary when you're working on documents that don't contain custom terms. For instance, you might be a chemical engineer, but you don't need that custom dictionary to check a letter to an alumni organization or your favorite charity.

When you don't need the custom dictionary, inhibit it and save yourself several annoying and unnecessary stops:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu.
  2. Click the Spelling & Grammar tab.
  3. In the Spelling options, select Suggest From Main Dictionary Only.
  4. Click OK.

Word 2007 users have the same option:

  1. Click the Office button and then click Word Options (in the bottom-right corner).
  2. Select Proofing in the left pane.
  3. Select the Suggestion From Main Dictionary Only option.
  4. Click OK.

This change is permanent, so you must uncheck this option when you want to use the custom dictionary.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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