Checking Just the Selected Text

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 7, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2019 and Word in Microsoft 365


6

Tom recently purchased a new computer with an updated version of Word. In previous versions of Word, Tom could select a paragraph and complete a spelling and grammar check on just the selected text. Now, though, Word checks the entire document even when he has the selection made. Tom wonders how he can check just the text he has selected.

This is, apparently, a change that Microsoft made in Office 365 well over a year ago. Why they made it is a mystery, but Tom isn't the only one bothered by the change. The only thing that can be done is to "upvote" a request to have the previously available feature reinstated, here:

https://word.uservoice.com/forums/304924-word-for-windows-desktop-application/suggestions/36089200

(Why anyone would need to cast votes to reinstate what used to be a standard behavior is beyond me; such things shouldn't be changed in the first place. In other words, have votes to remove it rather than removing it and having to canvas to put it back in?)

There is one way around this that involves adding a tool to either the Quick Access Toolbar or to the ribbon. Follow these steps to add the tool to the QAT:

  1. Display the File tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click Options. Word displays the Word Options dialog box.
  3. At the left side of the dialog box click Quick Access Toolbar.
  4. Using the Choose Commands From drop-down list, choose Commands Not in the Ribbon. Word adjusts the commands available at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Quick Access Toolbar options of the Word Options dialog box.

  6. Scroll through the list of commands and click once on the Spelling... command. (Make sure you choose the "Spelling..." command that has the ellipses after it.)
  7. Click the Add button. The Spelling... command moves to the right side of the dialog box.
  8. Click OK. The dialog box disappears, and the Spelling tool appears on the Quick Access toolbar.

Now you can select your text and click the newly added tool. The spelling of the selected text is all that is checked, and when the check is complete Word asks if you want to check the rest of the 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 (13744) applies to Microsoft Word 2019 and Word in Microsoft 365.

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 3 + 7?

2023-11-30 12:35:27

zz

Thank you, thank you! Invaluable.


2023-04-20 13:50:30

Margaret

Bless you, Mr. Wyatt : )


2021-12-03 14:39:29

Jim Yuill

Allen, very helpful.
BTW: I added "Spelling..." using "Customize Ribbon", and I put it in a group in the Review ribbon.
Thank You!


2021-01-05 23:32:46

Ava

Thank you! This was exactly what I was looking for.


2020-08-27 09:29:51

Andrew

Aisha, the setting in Outlook is under the File->Options->Mail. Click the Editor Options button and on the Proofing tab tick the box for "Check spelling as you type."

Andy.


2020-08-26 16:49:26

Aisha

How do I set this up for the web version of Outlook? I prefer using the web version. I used to have a feature that would underline all misspelled words before I sent my email. This function is now gone. How do I get it back?


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