Capitalizing Spring

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 12, 2016)

4

Catharine edits resumes for a living and technical terms pose their own headaches when it comes to spell check in Word. Usually, she is able to right-click on a term and click "Add to Dictionary" and that solves the problem. However, she has a specific issue with a Web Application Framework by the name of "Spring." Whenever this name is listed in a resume, it needs to be capitalized because that is the correct spelling for the technology. Unfortunately, the word "Spring" is automatically underlined with a blue line (as opposed to the usual red line) and right-clicking on the word does not give me the option to add it to the dictionary. Catharine just gets a message that the season "spring" is not supposed to be capitalized. She can right-click and choose "Ignore," but the next time she opens the document, the blue line shows up again. She wonders how she can permanently get rid of it.

First, let's look at what Word is supposed to so when it comes to spelling and grammar, and then I'll address Catharine's specific problem.

Word has a built-in spelling checker and a separate grammar checker. By default, it checks spelling and grammar on the fly, as you are typing your document. It also checks some types of formatting as you are typing. If Word discovers potential problems, it marks each of these three areas with different color wavy underlines:

  • A red wavy underline marks a potential spelling error.
  • A green wavy underline marks a potential grammar error.
  • A blue wavy underline marks a potential formatting inconsistency.

If Catharine is actually seeing a wavy blue underline, then the problem with the word "Spring" is related to formatting. More than likely, though, the wavy underline is actually green. (At least, it was green on all the systems on which I tested it.) This indicates that one of Word's grammar rules has been triggered. This is consistent with Catharine not seeing the "Add to Dictionary" option when she right-clicks—it isn't shown because the dictionary is related to the spell checker, not the grammar checker, and it is the grammar checker that is flagging the potential problem.

One way around the problem is to format the word "Spring" so that it isn't checked by the grammar checker. You do that in this manner:

  1. Select the word. (Make sure you only select the six letters of the word, no spaces before or after.)
  2. Display the Review tab of the ribbon.
  3. For Word 2007, find the Proofing group and click on Set Language. For Word 2010 and later, Language has its own group in the Review tab. From the group select Language | Set Proofing Language. Word displays the Language dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Do Not Check Spelling or Grammar check box is selected.
  5. Click on OK.

Of course, you would need to do this for each instance of the word "Spring," which could get tedious. One way around that is to create a character style that only turns off the spelling and grammar check. You could then apply the style to words such as "Spring" that you know are correct.

It should be noted that you could also add an AutoCorrect entry that did the conversion for you, replacing "spring" with a formatted version of "Spring." You can do that in this manner:

  1. Type the word "Spring" somewhere in your document.
  2. Select the word. (Make sure you only select the six letters of the word, no spaces before or after.)
  3. Display the Review tab of the ribbon.
  4. For Word 2007, find the Proofing group and click on Set Language. For Word 2010 and later, Language has its own group in the Review tab. From the group select Language | Set Proofing Language. Word displays the Language dialog box.
  5. Make sure the Do Not Check Spelling or Grammar check box is selected.
  6. Click on OK.
  7. With the word "Spring" still selected, display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and later versions, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  8. Click Proofing at the left side of the screen.
  9. Click AutoCorrect Options. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box with the selected word ("Spring") already entered in the With box. (See Figure 1.)
  10. Figure 1. The AutoCorrect dialog box.

  11. In the Replace box, type "spring" (make sure it is lowercase)
  12. Make sure the Formatted radio button is selected.
  13. Click the Add button. The entry is added to the AutoCorrect entries.
  14. Click the OK button to close the dialog box.

Now, whenever you type the word "spring," it is replaced with "Spring," and the "Do Not Check Spelling or Grammar" setting is applied to the word because you chose to do the replacement using formatted text.

Finally, you could also turn off the grammar-checking rule that is actually being triggered when you type "Spring." You can do that by following these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and later versions, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Proofing at the left side of the screen.
  3. Click the Settings button. Word displays the Grammar Settings dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  4. Figure 2. The Grammar Settings dialog box.

  5. Clear the Capitalization check box.
  6. Click on OK to close the Grammar Settings dialog box.
  7. Click on OK to close the Word Options dialog box.

The wavy green line under "Spring" should now be gone, but you should realize that any other capitalization issues will also go unmarked.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (2500) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is six more than 8?

2016-03-15 17:56:27

Catharine Hay

Thanks, Allen, and also to everyone who contributed toward a solution to my issue with the word "Spring" when used as a technical term. The 1st solution works best for me as I need the functionalities that I might otherwise lose with the other options. Fortunately, it doesn't turn up that often in the resumes I edit.


2016-03-14 19:22:41

Peter

Maybe an additional tip for the Autocorrect Options. I would recommend using not "spring" in the Replace field, since this would mean that each and every occurrence of "spring" in all other meanings would also get replaced while you type your text. Probably this is not something you want to happen. Instead I would choose some combination of characters which is very unlikely to occur as a separate word, e.g. "spr".


2016-03-12 06:47:53

Dave

Speaking of correct grammar, I saw this tip in my email entitled Daylight Savings Time Change. Just to be annoying and pedantic, it's actually called Daylight Saving Time (without the "s" on Saving).


2016-03-12 05:48:49

Marjorie

Perhaps the reason you are seeing the a green wavy line not a blue one is because the original poster has check grammar with spelling turned off? So a phrase that breaks both the grammar and format consistency checks shows green for you, as it breaks a grammar rule, which is rated more important, but only blue for her, as it breaks a formatting consistency rule too, and she isn't showing grammar rule failures.

I work with grammar checks off all the time, as I write very technical documentation, so there are lots of lists and tables of technical terms etc containing phrases not sentences. The green gets irritating.


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