Dictionaries for Microsoft Word

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 18, 2020)

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

Examining Tracked Changes in a Macro

The Track Changes feature in Word is very handy when you need to see what edits are made to a document. Using a macro, ...

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

Creating an Inline Heading

When settling on an overall design for your document, you need to decide how you want your headings to appear. If you ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (menu)

Editing Custom Dictionaries

Custom dictionaries can be great, but they take quite a bit of time to create. Word provides a way you can edit your ...

Discover More

Symbols in Words Added to the Dictionary

Adding special characters to otherwise normal words, such as a company name, may be necessary. However, this could affect ...

Discover More

Merging Custom Dictionaries

It is possible to develop a custom dictionary on your computer that reflects the types of documents with which you work ...

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 3 - 3?

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.

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.