How to Use the Spell Checker in Microsoft Word

By Carol Finch

Learn how to run the spell and grammar checker tool in Word and how to check spelling and grammar on individual words or phrases.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Word (for Mac)

Word enables its Spelling and Grammar tool by default, allowing you to check documents for misspelled words and some grammar errors. Run the tool to check the entire document or correct errors individually on the page. You can also customize the spell checker's settings.

Use the Spelling and Grammar Tool

Correct Spelling Mistakes

Use the Ignore, Ignore All and Add buttons if spell check makes a mistake.

The spell checker may make mistakes. If it flags a spelling that is actually correct, select Ignore to tell Word to accept the current spelling. Ignore All tells the tool to accept all words in the document with that spelling. To add the word to the spell checker, so it won't flag it in the future, select Add.

Select Change or Change All to correct a spelling mistake.

To correct a misspelled word, select the correct word from the list and then Change. Select Change All to correct all words with the same spelling mistake in the document.

Correct Grammar Mistakes

Select Ignore or Change to accept or reject the grammar error.

To fix a grammar error, select the correct option and then Change. If you don't understand why Word has flagged something for grammar errors, read the explanation in the pane. If Word has made a mistake and flagged grammar that is actually correct, however, select Ignore.

Select OK when you've finished checking the document.

When you've fixed spelling and grammar errors, select OK on the confirmation message to close the tool.


  • Use keyboard shortcuts to make or ignore changes. Each option in thechecker has an underlined letter denoting the shortcut. For example, usethe I key instead of the Ignore button, G for Ignore All, A for Add, Cfor Change and L for Change All.
  • To change the spell checker's language, use the drop-down menu at the bottom of the tool's screen.
  • To add dictionaries to see definitions of words, select Get a Dictionary.

Open the Review tab. Select Spelling and Grammar to launch the tool, which displays the first spelling or grammar error it finds.

Correct Spelling While You Type

Fix Spelling Mistakes

Select a word to correct it or select Ignore if Word has made a mistake.

Select the correct spelling of the word from the list to automatically correct it. Or, select Ignore All if the word is correct or you want Word to ignore the spelling. Use Add to Dictionary to tell the tool to include this spelling in the future.

Fix Grammar Mistakes

Correct a grammar error or tell Word to ignore it.

Select an option from the list to correct a mistake or use Ignore Once to leave the word or phrase as it is. Select Grammar to open the Grammar pane to find out why Word thinks you've made a grammar error.


You can also use the right-click command when you're spell checking to add a hyperlink or comment.

You can also check spelling and grammar while you type. If Word thinks you've made a mistake, it underlines a misspelled word with a red wavy line; a blue line denotes a grammatical mistake. Right-click on the underlined word to open editing options.

Change Spelling and Grammar Settings

Step 1:

Select Options to open the Word Options settings menu.

Open the File tab and select Options.

Step 2:

Select Proofing to see current spell check options.

Select Proofing from the Word Options menu.

Step 3:

Check the boxes to add rules to the spell checker.

Go to the When Correcting Spelling and Grammar in Word area and check or uncheck the boxes to enable or disable settings.

Step 4:

Select Grammar Only or Grammar and Style.

Go to Writing Style. Select Grammar for basic checks; use Grammar and Style if you want Word to check stylistic problems, such as sentence structure or wordiness, as well as grammar errors.

Step 5:

Check boxes to add them to the spell checker.

Select the Settings button next to the Writing Style box to open the Grammar Settings menu. Check or uncheck the boxes to enable or disable rules. Select OK to close the menu and then OK again to apply changes and close Word Options.


  • Change AutoCorrect settings on the Word Options menu to choose how Word corrects mistakes for you while you type.
  • If you mess up a spell check and ignore words that you should have changed, use the Recheck Document button to start over.
  • If you're sharing a document and don't want the wavy error lines to appear on copies, use the Exceptions area to hide spelling and grammar error lines.