Software

Use Word 2007's contextual spell checker to avoid embarrassing errors

Word's spell checker may miss words that sound the same. Find out how to use Word 2007's contextual spell checker to avoid slipping on homonyms.

Word's spell checker can help you cut down on spelling errors, but what if you type the word right, and it should be write? Until Word 2007, the spell checker would have ignored the error.

For those of us who consistently type to for too, there for their, or site for sight, Word 2007 has a new feature that not only checks for the correct spelling but also for the correct context. Follow these steps to activate the contextual spell checker:

1. Click the Office Button.

2. Click the Word Options button.

3. Click Proofing.

4. In the When Correcting Spelling And Grammar In Word section, select the Use Contextual Spelling check box.

5. Click OK.

If you type Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of there country, Word will underline there in blue. You can then right-click the word to select the correct spelling: their.

Miss a tip?

Check out the Microsoft Word archive, and catch up on our most recent Word tips.

Help users increase productivity by automatically signing up for TechRepublic's free Microsoft Office Suite newsletter, featuring Word, Excel, and Access tips, delivered each Wednesday.

8 comments
Trackstardeb
Trackstardeb

I can't get spell checker or contextual spell checker to work. It's been months and I've read everything possible, and nothing works.

coroberti
coroberti

I have evaluated Word-2007 contexual speller and was a bit disappointed. The percent of the out-of-context words recognized was rather low and the percent of false negatives was very high. Suggested corrections was rarely appropriate. My suggestion for the respected public is to look at Ghotit on-line speller, which up to my knowledge provides much better results. Note, that I am proud to be associated with Ghotit, being one of its developers.

john.leonard
john.leonard

Will Contextual Spell Checker work on 512Mb desktops

Nauthstar
Nauthstar

Would be useful if Microsoft would think outside the box once in a while! It works for English (US) but not for English (UK)!

Lynne's Honey
Lynne's Honey

default setting. I have a fairly new install of Office 2007, upgrading from 2003, and I just checked and the option is already on, not that I have noticed that it has helped any. It doesn't seem to have picked up any more errors, contextual or not, than 2003, and I have found contextual errors when proofing a document that have not been noted.

ismith
ismith

I typed this sentence: I want too go two the movies to. Word correctly identified the first two instances (too and two) but failed to pick up the last one. It is possible that the context isn't clear enough. I could be saying "I want to go to the movies to see Harry Potter," but since there is a period after it, I would think the context would indicate also. Oh well, it's better than nothing, I suppose. I wonder how often this will mis-file. By the way, contextual spelling check is on by default apparently because when I went to turn it on, it was already on. Irene

NI70
NI70

Office 2007 Basic Office 2007 Standard Office 2007 Home/Student Office 2007 Professional I'm going out on the limb, when you say "415Mb desktops" you mean 512MB RAM on your desktop system.

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

It is a sad reflection on the worth placed on educational standards, that spelling cannot be relied upon to be correct without one. Actually, as the various and nefarious posts within the walls of TR prove, typing skills are usually remiss also, since a spelling checker is of little or no value if your typing prowess is so dire that you are incapable of looking at the screen while typing, thereby incapable of witnessing the warnings your spelling checker is delivering to your otherwise occupied eyesight. Maybe Microsoft will come up with a completely new set of sounds just for the spelling checker! The most 'embarrassing error' above being in the title of the article: 'spell checker' is in itself wrong.