Checking Just the Selected Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 7, 2020)

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 Office 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Locking the Print Area

Excel allows you to specify an area of your worksheet that should be printed. Here's how to "lock" that area so it cannot ...

Discover More

Static Sizes for Comment Boxes

Adding comments to your worksheet can be helpful in documenting what the worksheet contains. If you want to make sure ...

Discover More

Adding an Ellipsis to the Beginning of Some Paragraphs

The Find and Replace feature of Word is very powerful. You can even use it to add a unique character to the beginning of ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Resetting Spelling and Grammar Checking on Multiple Documents

Things that are accomplished easily with a single document (such as resetting spelling and grammar checking settings) can ...

Discover More

Spell-Check Won't Work

Having problems making spell check work on a portion of your document? There are two primary causes for such an ...

Discover More

Word Marks Mixed Case Acronyms as Incorrect

Many acronyms (such as DoD) are considered correct when they used mixed uppercase and lowercase. Word may not seem them ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three less than 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.