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: Catching Single-Letter Spelling Errors.

Catching Single-Letter Spelling Errors

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 21, 2013)

2

If you accidentally leave a single letter on its own in a sentence, spell check won't catch the single letter as a spelling error. For instance, if you type "route r" instead of "router," Word won't flag the stand-alone "r" as an error. This can be frustrating to some people, and it brings up the question of why those maverick single letters aren't caught.

Actually, the answer as to why is pretty simple: there are bona fide reasons why your document may contain single letters and those not be considered spelling errors. Some of the instances are obvious—letters like "a" and "I" are valid words in their own right. However, letters—a through z—are regularly used as numbering for items and for lists. It's sad, but Word can't differentiate between "r" used when numbering a list and "r" inappropriately trailing in "route r."

So what is a person to do? Perhaps the best solution is to analyze how you type. If you routinely insert an extra space in some words (for instance, you regularly type "th e" instead of "the" or "route r" instead of "router"), then you might want to create an AutoCorrect entry that will recognize the error and fix it for you as you type. You'll want to be careful, though. If you replace all instances of "route r" with "router," you cause problems if you really meant to type "route R" as a street designation.

The best tip, however, may be to make sure you go back and proofread your entire document when you are done. Don't rely on what Word may underline and think those are the only errors; chances are good that they are not. You'll only catch your errors as you read and re-read your document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3910) 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: Catching Single-Letter Spelling Errors.

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

Repeating the First Column of a Table

Need the first column of a table to be repeated on multiple pages? You can't do it automatically in Word, but you can use ...

Discover More

Finding Cells Filled with a Particular Color

Do you need to find cells that are formatted with a particular color? How you accomplish this task depends on your ...

Discover More

Creating a Custom Power Management Plan

Don't like the built-in power management plans that Windows provides? You can create your own to better fit your power needs.

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (menu)

Creating an Executive Summary

Word includes an "executive summary" tool that allows you to automatically summarize a document. This tool provides a ...

Discover More

Locking the Position of Tools

Don't want your toolbar tools to move around on you? You might think you are out of luck, but here is a way you can make ...

Discover More

Automatically Saving Versions

The versioning feature in Word can be very handy as you develop your documents. Here's how to set it up so that a new ...

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 four more than 2?

2016-03-15 10:48:15

Anne Hickley

I meant 'find field' of course, not 'fine field'!


2016-03-15 10:47:14

Anne Hickley

You can do a search using wildcard characters and put into the fine field a space followed by [b-z] followed by another space (as you don't want to search for 'a' since it's a word.)


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.