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: Checking for Incorrect Numbers in Text.

Checking for Incorrect Numbers in Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 23, 2020)

The grammar checker included with Word is quite powerful when it comes to checking matters of style in your writing. One of the things you can have Word check for is whether you are using numbers correctly in your text. Normally, any number ten or less should be spelled out (such as "nine trucks" or "three officers"). If the number is larger than ten, it should be expressed with numerals (as in "47 pencils" or "12 pennies").

By default, Word doesn't check for the correct use of numbers. You can change this feature of Word, however, by following these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Spelling & Grammar tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Spelling & Grammar tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Click on the Settings button. Word displays the Grammar Settings dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The Grammar Settings dialog box.

  6. Scroll through the Grammar and Style Options list until you find the Numbers option. Make sure it is checked.
  7. Click on OK twice to close both dialog boxes.

As with most other grammar-checking tools, you should not rely exclusively on this particular checking feature to correct all your incorrect usage. There are actually some pretty complex rules that writers and editors should follow when using numbers within text. For more information, refer to a good style guide, such as the Chicago Manual of Style.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1479) 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: Checking for Incorrect Numbers in Text.

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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