Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Spell-Check Won't Work.

Spell-Check Won't Work

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 11, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


One of the powerful tools provided with Word is the spell checker. As you are creating your documents, you may notice that Word doesn't always find spelling errors. There are two things you can check if this is the case.

First, if the misspelled words are in uppercase, you may have spell checking turned off for words that are all in uppercase. To turn on this capability, follow 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. At the left side of the dialog box click Proofing. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The proofing options of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Ignore Words in UPPERCASE check box is cleared.
  5. Click on OK.

Next, if entire paragraphs are being ignored, it could be because proofing has been turned off for the paragraph. Follow these steps to correct this problem:

  1. Select the paragraph in question.
  2. Display the Review tab of the ribbon.
  3. If you're using Word 2007, click the Set Language tool in the Proofing group. In Word 2010 and later versions, click Language in the Language group and select Set Proofing Language from the resulting drop-down menu. Word displays the Language dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  4. Figure 2. The Language dialog box.

  5. Clear the Do Not Check Spelling or Grammar check box.
  6. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6278) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Spell-Check Won't Work.

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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