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Spell-Check Won't Work

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Spell-Check Won't Work.

One of the powerful tools provided with Word is the spell checker. As you are creating your documents, you may notice that Word doesn't always find spelling errors. There are two things you can check if this is the case.

First, if the misspelled words are in uppercase, you may have spell checking turned off for words that are all in uppercase. To turn on this capability, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Spelling & Grammar tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Spelling & Grammar tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Ignore Words in UPPERCASE check box is cleared.
  5. Click on OK.

Next, if entire paragraphs are being ignored, it could be because proofing has been turned off for the paragraph. Follow these steps to correct this problem in Word 97:

  1. Select the paragraph in question.
  2. Choose Language from the Tools menu. This displays the Language dialog box.
  3. In the language list at the left of the dialog box, make sure (no proofing) is not selected. (Select a different language, such as one of the English variations.)
  4. Click on OK.

If you are using Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003, the steps are slightly different:

  1. Select the paragraph in question.
  2. Choose Language from the Tools menu, then Set Language from the resulting submenu. Word displays the Language dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  3. Figure 2. The Language dialog box.

  4. Clear the Do Not Check Spelling or Grammar check box.
  5. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5596) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Spell-Check Won't Work.

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Comments for this tip:

John    04 Jul 2015, 10:58
Spell check stopped working one day to the next without any setting changes by me. I looked at preferences and they are still as if the spell check should be active.
Stephanie Feagin    25 Jun 2015, 13:57
Thanks for solving my problem, spellcheck now works :-)
Steve Taylor    09 Jan 2015, 06:32
Well looks like the random hand of Microsoft has struck again.

The problem? Spell check works on part of the document only! 20 pages completed and functioning, next page it doesn't then check. I've changed nothing ...... fantastic
Heidi    31 Dec 2014, 12:55
What if it still does not work? I already tried everything mentioned in this post, before even reading this post.

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