by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 24, 2016)
Carol's company name uses a hyphen and she replaces it with a non-breaking hyphen. For instance, the name J-Team uses a non-breaking hyphen so that Carol doesn't get a J- on one line and the rest on the next. However, Word shows the hyphen and Team as misspelled. Carol wonders if there is a way to get Word to accept J-Team in the spell-check dictionary and stop flagging it. As it now stands, Word requires Carol to "ignore once" each time, as it won't even ignore all.
In doing testing, I was unable to recreate this problem. I tried using "J-Team" and "Smith-Johnson," both with regular hyphens and non-breaking hyphens. In all instances, on all versions of Word (2007 through 2016), the hyphenated words were not marked as incorrect spellings.
That being said, it could be that the problem isn't with the spell checker but with the grammar checker. (You can tell if Word uses a green squiggly underline under the term instead of a red squiggly underline.) If this is the case, you can follow these steps:
Figure 1. The Grammar Settings dialog box.
If the problem is that Word actually flags the term as a spelling error (there is a red squiggly line under part or all of the term), then that is a bit more problematic. The first thing to do is to check to see that you are actually using a non-breaking hyphen between the words. If, instead, you are using an optional hyphen, then the entire term will be marked as spelled wrong. You should be using a non-breaking hyphen, entered by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Hyphen.
You'll also want to check to make sure that the words (or, indeed, any part of the hyphenated term) are not formatted for a foreign language. Select the entire hyphenated term, and then display the Review tab of the ribbon. 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.)
Figure 2. The Language dialog box.
If the top of the dialog box does not have a single language selected, it means that the hyphenated term is formatted to use multiple languages. Make sure that you select which language you want applied to the entire term, and then click OK.
When it comes to spelling errors in this case, what you can't do is to try to enter the term into the dictionary; it won't work. Why? Because the dictionary deals with single words, not with compound words. While you can enter the entire compound term into the custom dictionary, Word will still continue marking the spelling as incorrect if it did so before.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13473) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.
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