Spell Checking with Text Boxes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 6, 2013)

Laney asked if there was a way to spell-check text within text boxes. She uses text boxes extensively for her layout design, and Word seems to ignore the text in the text boxes when it comes time to spell check.

In testing this problem, we actually found out that the text in text boxes is spell-checked; it is not ignored. Let's say that you have a five-page document, with text boxes on pages one and two. If you start doing a spell-check at the beginning of your document, Word goes through all five pages of the text before it actually does the spell-check on the text boxes. Why? Because text boxes are not on the same "layer" as the rest of the document. The spell-checker finishes everything on the text layer before it starts checking things on the other layers of the document.

If this wait-until-last approach to spell-checking bothers you, then you may want to use a different design element rather than text boxes. For instance, you could use tables instead of text boxes; they are placed on the text layer and processed with the rest of the text by the spell-checker. Another approach is to convert the text boxes to frames (as described in other issues of WordTips). Frames are placed on the same layer as the text, as well. When the anchor point for the frame is encountered by the spell-checker, all of the text in the frame is spell-checked. When the frame's text is finished, then the spell-checker picks right back up, at the point in the main text immediately following the frame's anchor.

If you still cannot get the spell-checker to pay attention to the text in your text boxes, the problem may not be related to the use of text boxes. Instead, the text itself could be marked to be ignored by the spell checker. To see if this is the case, select the text in the text box, then display the Language dialog box (choose Tools | Language | Set Language.) If the check box entitled "Do Not Check Spelling or Grammar" is selected, then you have discovered your problem. Clear the check box, close the dialog box, and do your spelling check again.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (204) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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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