Question in MSWord using English (UK) Spell Check?

Subject: Question in MSWord using English (UK) Spell Check?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 02 Jun 2005 20:35:11 -0400

Shannon Pierotti reports: <<We are preparing a manuscript for release in the UK, and I am not sure what step I am missing in order to spell check my MS Word document to check for English (UK). I checked to ensure that the English (UK) dictionary is enabled, I formatted the entire document in Language: English (UK), and then ran the spell check English (UK). The spell check did not pick up some obvious words that would be misspelled in the UK, such as recognize and aging. Any ideas of where I'm going wrong?>>

First thing to do is select one of the problem words, open the Tools menu, then select Language. If the software shows that English (UK) is selected, then the word (and probably the surrounding paragraph) is set to use the correct dictionary.

Word has an unfortunate time-saving 'feature' (I call it a design flaw or outright bug) that lets it save time by not spellchecking text it thinks that it's already checked. It's not clear to me why or when it comes to think it's already checked text. In any event, open the Options (or Preferences on a Mac) dialog, select the Spelling and Grammar tab. If you see a button labeled "Recheck document" at the bottom left instead of the usual "Check document", Word is trying and failing to be helpful. Click the button, and most times (not always) Word will now redo the spellcheck from the start of the document.

You didn't specify how you "formatted the document in English (UK)", but if you used the tempting but misleadingly named "default language" feature (Tools-->Language, then select a language and click the "Default..." button), that won't do it. Another major design flaw, for reasons too lengthy to go into here. All that feature does is set your Normal template to use the selected language next time you create a document based on that template. No real effect on the current document.

If you did this the "right" way and changed the language definition in all the paragraph and character styles used in the document, you're still not out of the (U.S. English) woods yet. <g> There are two likely problems. First, if the language originally defined for text with a given format was not English (UK), then Word won't automatically change the language just because you changed the language definition in the style.

This is yet another "feature": if (like most of us) you manually override a style definition to boldface or italicize a word, the software protects your work by not overriding that format--for example, by not applying the new style definition, overriding the format, and losing all those manual changes. I'm not sure exactly what circumstances cause Word to make the change and which ones don't; the behavior seems to follow some pattern that eludes me--though I confess I've never spent the time to figure out what it is.

Second, the styles may be set to automatically update from the template used to define the document. So here's what happens: you change the style definitions, go your merry way, and save and close the document. You then come back and finish editing the document, only to discover that when you reopened it, Word blithely restored all the style properties defined in the template. Yes, this is also a feature. <g>

You can manually trick the spellchecker into using the right dictionary by doing a "select all" (Control or Command plus A), then opening Tools, selecting Language, then selecting English (UK). This isn't the best way to work, because if you reapply any styles that aren't using that dictionary, they'll override your choice of English (UK). But as a trick for forcing the spellchecker to work, it's an acceptable kludge.

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
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Question in MSWord using English (UK) Spell Check: From: Shannon Pierotti

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