Dictionaries for Microsoft Word

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 2, 2014)

When you install Microsoft Word, a general-purpose dictionary is automatically installed. This dictionary, specific to the language version of your installation, is used by the spell-checker to flag words that may be incorrect. As you've learned in other issues of WordTips, you can also create custom dictionaries that allow you to manage the checking of words not in the standard Word dictionary.

Many times people in specific professions need specialized dictionaries that are focused on the type of writing they do. Regardless of your profession, it is possible to create your own custom dictionaries comprised of hundreds or thousands of specialized words. Unless you are very patient (and a good speller), you may find it beneficial to download and use a custom dictionary that someone else has developed.

This is really rather easy because custom dictionaries are nothing but plain text lists of words that are spelled correctly. Put the dictionary file in the proper folder and give it a name recognized by Word, and it can be automatically used by the program. (Locations and file names for custom dictionaries have been covered in other issues of WordTips.)

The problem for many people, then, is not using the dictionaries, but locating where dictionaries can be downloaded. The biggest help for this task is a good search engine, and some time to do some searching and browsing. For instance, enter the phrase "custom dictionary" (with the quote marks) along with the profession you are interested in, such as medical, dental, veterinary, etc. You should be able to come up with some promising candidates in this manner.

I've found that some dictionaries are better than others, but this judgment is based more on the number of words in the dictionary rather than any other factor. Some dictionaries are only a few dollars, while others can get quite expensive. The following are two dictionaries that I quickly located on the Web; you will undoubtedly find more:

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (360) 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Moving Table Rows Quickly

One of the most esoteric shortcuts available in Word is one that allows you to move table rows, either within a table or ...

Discover More

Checkboxes in a Merged Document

When creating a mail-merge document, you may want to include some special characters, such as check-marked boxes, in the ...

Discover More

Researching Using Google's Resources

Got a need to search the web for more information on something you are writing about? It should be no surprise that Docs, ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

MORE WORDTIPS (MENU)

Cannot Add Words to Dictionary

We all run across words that are spelled correctly, but that Word isn't aware of. The solution is to add those words to the ...

Discover More

Adding Ampersands to Custom Dictionaries

It appears that Word doesn't allow you to define custom dictionary entries that include ampersands. There are ways you can ...

Discover More

Backing Up Your Custom Dictionaries

When you work with the spelling checker quite a bit, you eventually end up with a sizeable custom dictionary. You might want ...

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 for this tip:

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 menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

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.

Links and Sharing
Share