by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 7, 2016)
Philip's version of Word came with both French and Spanish languages available, by default. However, he needs to spellcheck and grammar check his documents using German. (All of his writing is done in German.) Philip wonders if there is a low-cost way he can uninstall the French and Spanish tools and, instead, add German tools.
The answer to this question may not be as simple as you would hope. Language support (and how you activate different languages) is one of those areas where Microsoft is continually making changes. Thus, what you need to do depends on the version of Word (Office, actually) you are using.
If you have Office 2007, Office 2010, or one of the rare Office 2013 "MSI" installations, and if you want to completely remove the language support, you can use the "Customize" install option to select which languages you want to have installed. In Windows, perform these general steps:
At this point you can see which languages are natively available to your version of Office. You can disable or enable any of them you'd like. Once you do that, simply finish out the installation program, and your changes are complete.
It is possible that when you look at the languages installed on your system, you won't see the one you want. (For instance, you may not see German as an option.) If that is the case, you'll need to purchase what Microsoft calls a "language pack." You'll also need to follow this route if you are using a non-MSI version of Office 2013, which includes most Office 2013 users. You install the language pack and then configure it within Office so it works correctly. If you are using Office 2013 you can find language packs here:
You'll need to purchase, download, and install the language pack you want. (Most language packs, as of this writing, cost about $25.) You can find out more information about this entire process here:
Even though the above page on Microsoft's support site seems to apply to Office 2010, the language packs for that version of Office are apparently no longer available. (In other words, you may be out of luck if you are using Office 2010.)
There is one other thing you can try if you are using Office 2010 and Office 2007—downloading what is called a "language interface pack." This doesn't only provide the language proofing tools, but also can change the language for Office's ribbon and commands. Here's the place you want to start for this option:
Note that not all languages are available through this page. For instance, German is NOT available using this page. If you want a language not on the page, you are apparently out of luck again. (Why Microsoft includes some languages here and not others is a mystery.)
If you are using Office 2016 then you need to install what is called a "language accessory pack." These are free, which is a change from earlier versions of Office. You can find complete information on how to install other languages here:
Another option for Office 2016 users is to install language support from your Microsoft MyAccount page. Log into your Microsoft account, click Install, click Language, and then follow the instructions to download the language of your choice.
Is your head swimming yet? If so, that's understandable—Microsoft doesn't make language support terribly easy or intuitive, and it isn't anywhere near consistent.
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