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: Editing Custom Dictionaries.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 24, 2018)
As you use the spell-checking capabilities of Word, you undoubtedly have added words to your custom dictionary. Normally you do this when you run across a word that the main dictionary does not understand, but which you know is correct. When you click on the Add button in the spell-check dialog box, the word is added to your custom dictionary.
You can edit the custom dictionary by following these steps in Word 2003:
Figure 1. The Custom Dictionaries dialog box.
Figure 2. Editing a custom dictionary.
If you are using an older version of Word, then these steps will do:
Regardless of the version of Word you are using, it is interesting to note that custom dictionaries are simply text files. This means you can also edit them by using a different text editor, such as Notepad. In order to find the dictionaries, simply look in the directory where the custom dictionaries are stored. (You can figure out where this is by carefully examining the dialog boxes displayed in the above steps.) The dictionaries are nothing but a list of words that the spell-check should consider as acceptable. You can add words to the dictionary as needed, or delete words that never should have been added in the first place.
Note that when you edit a custom dictionary in Word 97 or Word 2000, automatic spell-checking is turned off. In order to again enable automatic spell-checking, follow these steps:
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1038) 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: Editing Custom Dictionaries.
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