Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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: Turning Off Spell Checking.

Turning Off Spell Checking

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 22, 2020)


If you want to turn off spell checking in Word, there are two ways you can do it. Most people who want to turn it off do so because their specific documents may have many spelling errors which are not really spelling errors—you know, caused by jargon or abbreviations or highly specialized words. If you want to globally turn off spell checking for your documents, you can do so 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 or 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. Clear the Check Spelling As You Type check box.
  5. Click OK.

Now, in order to check the spelling of your document you will need to explicitly command Word to initiate the process. (The easiest way to do this, of course, is to press F7.)

If you want to turn off spell checking for a specific paragraph, you can do so by making sure there is no language associated with the paragraph. You do this by following these steps:

  1. Select the paragraph for which you want spell checking turned off.
  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 versions, 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.

At this point Word will not check the spelling or grammar of the paragraph. It will, however, check any other paragraph in your document for which proofing is not turned off. If you find yourself changing the language setting for many paragraphs in your document, you may be best to use styles to define a specific style that has proofing turned off. You can then apply that style wherever necessary in your document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10804) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Turning Off Spell Checking.

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 two less than 7?

2021-09-01 11:08:47

Damian Barnett


Many thanks for the post. Do you have any advice on how to remove the suggestions from Word 2019 when spell checking? I like to do a final run through of a document as sometimes it can flag one or two errors, but often I have to ignore hundreds of words (e.g. author citations and subject-specific terminology). I have just upgraded to Word 2019 and the suggestions are a real distraction when checking large documents. (see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. Example of suggestions when spell checking in Word 2019

2020-10-16 16:01:19

denis munger

something in Windows interfere with my keyboard shift key. tried to disable everything related to spell ckeck in Office, to keyboard operation ease of access. But now it still interfere with VBA password.

2017-09-26 14:00:09

Sue D.

Doesn't work for Word 2011. "Tools" does not have an "options" option. Need different advice for Word 2011. Please provide.

2016-11-01 07:21:21

Sarah Patey

Ken, thank you - that is exactly what I need, and it works like a dream!

Apologies for the late response, I've been away from my desk for a few days.

2016-10-27 06:29:26

Ken Endacott

Sarah. The macro to toggle the display of squiggly lines is:

Sub ToggleSpellCheckDisplay()
Options.CheckSpellingAsYouType = Not Options.CheckSpellingAsYouType
End Sub

2016-10-26 05:40:04

Sarah Patey

Thanks, Ken. I hadn't realised that it's always going on.

In the light of what you say, what I'd love to find is a macro that toggles the squiggly lines on and off. I'm doing a translation at the moment with lots of foreign names with Eastern European characters. So while I do want to check the spelling of my translation (need the squiggles 'on') I also want to be able to check, for example, that the cedilla is present under the 'p' in 'Klep̨sk' and the 'a' in 'Elbląg'
(need the squiggles 'off'). There are 25 chapters in this book and I'm making more than one pass, obviously, for each chapter, so cumulatively a macro would save quite a bit of time ...

2016-10-25 07:29:03

Ken Endacott

You cannot actually turn off spell checking, it is always running in background even when 'Check Spelling as you type' is cleared. All this does is make the squiggly line underneath spelling errors non visible. The spelling errors are still found and you can see them individually by clicking the Spelling & Grammar button in the Review banner.

The spell checking for a text selection (not just a paragraph) can be turned off in the Set Proofing Language dialog box which is accessed via Review > Language > Language – a typical Word obscure menu location that you would never find without being told. You would think that it would be possible to use this option to turn off spell checking for the whole document by applying to the document content selected with CTRL + A but this only selects the document body and not other story ranges such as headers and footers.

2016-10-24 12:01:59

Sarah Patey

Is there a macro to toggle 'Check Spelling as you type' on/off?

I've tried writing one (just by recording the keystrokes described above), but it didn't seem to work, and nor did writing two separate ones, one for on and one for off. Is this process somehow protected?

2016-04-12 16:08:14


Very helpful - thanks a lot!

2015-12-17 13:30:23

Harmen Kooyman

Spell check should NEVER apply for words capitalized and those between quotes "------"

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