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: Making Spell Check Ignore Characters.

Making Spell Check Ignore Characters

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 2, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Paul wondered if there is a way to set the preferences for the spelling checker so it will ignore brackets. When he's quoting material and changes the ending of a word, the word might look like this: deceiv[ing]. The spelling checker sees this as an error. Paul wants to configure it so that it will understand that the word to check is "deceiving" rather than "deceiv."

The short answer is that there is no way to do this. Word is rather straightforward in that it considers the brackets to be delimiters between words. Thus, deceiv[ing] appears to be two separate words, separated by the left bracket. Even adding the word with the brackets to the custom dictionary doesn't help, as (again) Word sees it as two separate words.

There are, of course, some options that could be tried. For instance, your word fragments ("deceiv" and "ing" in this instance) could be added to the custom dictionary. They will then pass muster with the spell-checker and won't be marked. The drawback to this is that when you include such fragments in your custom dictionary, you run the risk of missing real spelling errors in your document, such as "deceiv" being deemed OK when you should have typed "deceive."

The other option is to try to locate a different, more powerful spelling checker than the one provided with Word. This will take some research, as you'll want to find one that has the right mix of ease of use and features for your purposes. A good place to start, of course, is to type "spell checker" or "spelling checker" in your favorite search engine and see what turns up.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10589) 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: Making Spell Check Ignore Characters.

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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