Selecting a Language

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 2, 2013)

Word includes many tools to make your writing better. A few of the tools make use of specialized dictionaries; for instance the grammar and spelling checker. You can pick a language to be used on either a single paragraph, or on all instances of a particular paragraph style. To change which language is used for a particular paragraph, follow these steps:

  1. Select the paragraphs or defined style for which you want to change the language.
  2. Choose Tools | Language | Set Language. Word displays the Language dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Language dialog box.

  4. Select a language from those in the language list.
  5. Click on OK.

If you want to specify that all paragraphs formatted with a particular style use a certain language, then follow these steps if you are using Word 2002 or Word 2003:

  1. Choose Styles and Formatting from the Formatting menu. Word displays the Styles and Formatting pane.
  2. In the Pick Formatting To Apply area of the pane, make sure the style you want to change is visible.
  3. Hover the mouse pointer over the name of the style you want to change. Notice that a downward-pointing arrow appears at the right side of the style name.
  4. Click on the downward-pointing arrow and choose the Modify option from the resulting menu. Word displays the Modify Style dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The Modify Style dialog box.

  6. Click on the Format button, then choose the Language option. Word displays the Language dialog box.
  7. Select a language from those in the language list.
  8. Click on OK, then on OK again.
  9. Close the Styles and Formatting pane.

If you are using an older version of Word (97 or 2000), then you should follow these steps, instead:

  1. Choose the Style option from the Format menu. This displays the Style dialog box.
  2. Make sure the List option, at the bottom of the dialog box, is set to Styles in Use.
  3. From the list of available styles, select the one that you want to change to a different language.
  4. Click on the Modify button. This displays the Modify Style dialog box.
  5. Click on the Format button, then choose the Language option. This displays the Language dialog box.
  6. Select a language from those in the language list.
  7. Click on OK, then on OK again.
  8. Click Apply to close the style dialog box.

Any paragraphs formatted with the defined style will now use the appropriate dictionaries for the language you specified. The other paragraphs in your document will continue to use the default language.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1206) 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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