Changing to the Right Thesaurus

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 22, 2014)


David lives in Canada and all documents he opens in Word must conform to Canadian spelling conventions, so he uses the English (Canada) spell checker dictionary. His copy of Word used to use the English (Canada) thesaurus also. David notes that Word mysteriously changed to using the English (UK) thesaurus recently, even though spell checking and other grammar tools all use the proper English (Canada) settings. He's tried to change it back to the English (Canada) thesaurus dictionary, but failed. The English (UK) thesaurus is OK, but David would rather that Word use the English (Canada) thesaurus.

The problem appears to be that Microsoft does not provide a thesaurus for Canadian English. If you press Shift+F7 (to display the Research task pane) and click Research Options at the bottom of the pane, Word displays the Research Options dialog box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Research Options dialog box.

The dialog box lists all the various languages and tools available in Word. You'll note that there are English thesauri for Australia, the UK, and the US, but not for other English-speaking countries. (I should note that this is the case in my installation of Word; it could be different in your installation.) If you see a thesaurus there for English (Canada), then you could select it so that Word would use it. I have it on good authority from folks in Canada, however, that such an option is not available, even on versions of Word sold in that country. Thus the conclusion that Microsoft does not provide a thesaurus for Canadian English.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8374) applies to Microsoft Word 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. ...


Repeating Rows at the Bottom of a Page

Excel allows you to repeat rows at the top of every page of a printout. If you want to repeat rows at the bottom of every ...

Discover More

Creating a Numbered List

Numbered lists provide a 1-2-3 way of organizing your document. You can create numbered lists very easily using the ...

Discover More

Sorting Decimal Values

Government and industrial organizations often use a numbering system that relies upon a number both before and after a ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (menu)

Looking Up Antonyms

Antonyms are words that have opposite meanings. The grammar tools available in Word can suggest antonyms for some words. ...

Discover More

Right-clicking for Synonyms

Learn the ins and outs of right-clicking on a word to learn its synonyms.

Discover More

Finding Related Words

One part of the grammar tools provided with Word is a thesaurus that helps you find all sorts of word variations. One ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


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 nine more than 2?

2017-01-30 14:29:59


Go to Review - then Language - then set proofing language and change the default language to whatever you need to translate

2016-03-31 03:59:30


My colleague has similar problem in that they created a document in MS Word on their PC in Germany. While in New Zealand they have re-written the text into English. Now if they use thesaurus (now writing in English) it shows an error looking for a German thesaurus despite it having the local English thesaurus as the default.The spellcheck uses local English dictionary correctly. The user control panel and Office defaults are all for local English.
Any ideas?

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

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.