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: Changing How Word Flags Compound Words.

Changing How Word Flags Compound Words

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 1, 2012)

Mark is having a problem with the spell checker and words that are connected with each other using a non-breaking hyphen. It seems that Word is flagging the words as incorrect, when it never flags them if the hyphen isn't there. Mark tried adding the words to the dictionary and tried telling Word to ignore the words, but they still get flagged.

There are two things to try. First, you can try these steps:

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

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

  6. Using the Writing Style drop-down list, choose Grammar & Style.
  7. In the list of Style options, make sure there is no check mark next to the Hyphenated and Compound Words option. (If you selected Grammar Only in step 4, then the check box will be empty for this option by default.)
  8. Click on OK to close the Grammar Settings dialog box.
  9. Click on OK to close the Options dialog box.

The other option is to try a workaround that some subscribers have reported as successful. Select the first word (the one before the hyphen) and add it to Word's exclusion list. (How you create and use exclusion lists has been examined in other issues of WordTips; doing a search for the phrase on the WordTips website will turn up several results.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5394) 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: Changing How Word Flags Compound Words.

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

Creating Tables with Specific Column Widths

Create a table and Word figures out column widths by dividing the horizontal space by the number of columns you want in the ...

Discover More

Changing the Font Size in Combo Boxes

When you add a combo box to a worksheet, Excel makes some assumptions about the best font size to use in the control. This ...

Discover More

Understanding and Controlling Third-Party Cookies

Cookies can be a good thing, but they can also be aggravating. Here's a high-level explanation about a specific type of ...

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)

Turning Off Spell Checking

For some documents, you may not want spell checking turned on. There are two ways that you can turn it off, depending on ...

Discover More

Editing While Spell-Checking

When you run a spell-check on a document, you may end up seeing other things that need to be edited. Never fear; you can do ...

Discover More

Spelling Errors on Internet Addresses

Tired of Word marking Internet addresses as spelling errors? You can turn off this check by applying the steps in this tip.

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. 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 two minus 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.