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

Using Text Boundaries

Text boundaries can help you better visualize where text can appear in your document. The feature is easy to turn on and ...

Discover More

Quickly Adjusting Paragraph Spacing

Need to easily adjust the vertical spacing that follows a paragraph? You can do it using dialog boxes or you can create ...

Discover More

Controlling Display of the Scroll Bars

The scroll bars can be very handy in navigating your worksheet, but did you know you can turn them off or on at will? ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Specifying Sub-entries in an AutoMark File

An AutoMark file allows you to quickly and easily create an index from a document. This can be a great boon for large ...

Discover More

Stopping Smart Tags from Being Saved

Don't want Smart Tag information saved with your document? It's easy to make sure that Word doesn't save it, as described ...

Discover More

Can't Place Merge Field in Header Of a Catalog Merge Document

Word can perform several different types of mail merge operations, and the type you choose can affect how you are able to ...

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 2 + 4?

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.