Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Editing Custom Dictionaries.

Editing Custom Dictionaries

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 9, 2016)

As you use the spell-checking capabilities of Word, you undoubtedly have added words to your custom dictionary. Normally you do this when you run across a word that the main dictionary does not understand, but which you know is correct. When you click on the Add button in the spell-check dialog box, the word is added to your custom dictionary.

You can edit the custom dictionary 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. At the left side of the dialog box click Proofing.
  3. Click the Custom Dictionaries button. Word displays the Custom Dictionaries dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Custom Dictionaries dialog box.

  5. In the list of dictionaries, select the one you want to edit.
  6. Click Edit Word List. Word displays a dialog box showing the words in the dictionary. (See Figure 2.)
  7. Figure 2. Editing a custom dictionary.

  8. To add words, enter a word at the top of the dialog box and click Add.
  9. To delete words, select the word in the list, then click Delete.
  10. Close all the open dialog boxes when you are done editing.

It is interesting to note that custom dictionaries are simply text files. This means you can also edit them by using a different text editor, such as Notepad. In order to find the dictionaries, simply look in the directory where the custom dictionaries are stored. (You can figure out where this is by carefully examining the dialog boxes displayed in the above steps.) The dictionaries are nothing but a list of words that the spell-check should consider as acceptable. You can add words to the dictionary as needed, or delete words that never should have been added in the first place.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12196) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Editing Custom Dictionaries.

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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