Microsoft Word’s built-in spell checker ensures your documents don’t contain any spelling or grammar errors. If this feature ever stops working, errors in your document won’t be highlighted. Thus, you risk ending up with documents containing grammar issues.
Various items can cause Word’s spell checker not to work. You might have manually disabled the spell checker, an incorrect language may be specified in Word’s settings, or your current document may be an exception for the spell checker.
Once you fix those issues, your spell checker will be back in action to highlight all your spell and grammar problems.
- 1 Enable Microsoft Word’s Spell Check Feature
- 2 Select the Appropriate Proofing Language in Word
- 3 Review Word’s Proofing Exceptions
- 4 Open Word in Safe Mode and Check if Word Add-Ins Are Causing the Issue
- 5 Make Word Generate a New Default Document Template
- 6 Repair Microsoft Office on Your Computer
- 7 Many Ways to Fix Spell Check Not Working in Word
Enable Microsoft Word’s Spell Check Feature
When you notice your spelling or grammar issues aren’t highlighted in your documents, the first thing to do is verify if Word’s spell checker is enabled. You or someone else may have disabled it, causing Word not to check your documents for issues.
- Open Word on your computer.
- Select Options from the sidebar on the left.
- Choose Proofing in the left sidebar on the Word Options window.
- Enable both Check spelling as you type and Mark grammar errors as you type options on the right pane.
- Select OK at the bottom to save your changes.
From now on, Word will highlight both misspelled words and grammar errors in your documents.
Select the Appropriate Proofing Language in Word
You should select the appropriate proofing language in Word if your document contains multiple languages. Word may not highlight errors in your second language if you haven’t chosen this language in the proofing settings menu.
Luckily, you can select your Word document’s part that is in a different language, and choose the appropriate language in proofing to highlight issues.
- Open your document in Word.
- Select the document part containing text in a different language.
- Access the Review tab from the ribbon at the top. Then, choose Language > Language > Set Proofing Language.
- Select the language your text uses in the dialog box that opens.
- Uncheck both Do not check spelling or grammar and Detect language automatically boxes.
- Select OK at the bottom.
Review Word’s Proofing Exceptions
Word offers a feature to disable spelling and grammar checker in selected documents. You must ensure your current document isn’t part of that exception list. If it is, you’ll have to remove the exception so Word checks and highlights both spell and grammar issues in your current document.
- Launch your document with Word.
- Select File > More > Options in Word.
- Choose Proofing from the sidebar on the left.
- Scroll the right pane to the bottom. Then, select your current document from the Exceptions for drop-down menu.
- Deselect both Hide spelling errors in this document only and Hide grammar errors in this document only options.
- Choose OK at the bottom to save your changes.
Open Word in Safe Mode and Check if Word Add-Ins Are Causing the Issue
Word allows you to install third-party add-ins to the app. Sometimes, one or more of these add-ins causes problems. Your spell checker not working may be the result of an installed add-in.
In this case, you can launch Word in safe mode and see if your add-ins are the culprit. Then, you can disable all add-ins and enable one add-in at a time to see which one is causing the problem.
- Launch Word in safe mode by finding the app in the Start menu, holding down the Ctrl key on your keyboard, and selecting the app in the search results.
- Select Yes in the prompt to open Word in safe mode.
- Open your document in Word and see if your spell and/or grammar issues are highlighted. Your add-ins are likely the culprit if the built-in spell checker is working.
- Review your add-ins list by first closing and reopening Word in normal mode, and then choosing File > More > Options.
- Select Add-ins from the sidebar on the left.
- Choose COM Add-ins from the Manage drop-down menu on the right. Then, select Go.
- Keep only one add-in enabled while disabling all others and see if the issue occurs. This way, you’ll know which add-in is causing your Word’s spell checker not to work.
Make Word Generate a New Default Document Template
Word uses a default document template to base all your future documents on. If this template contains issues, your spell checker may not work. In this case, you can force Word to create a new template by renaming the old template.
That will make Word think you’ve deleted the template, and the app will create a new one from scratch.
- Open the Run dialog box by pressing Windows + R keys at the same time.
- Type the following in the Run box and press Enter. Replace username with the username you use on your PC in the below path: C:UsersusernameAppDataRoamingMicrosoftTemplates
- Right-click the Normal.dotm file and choose Rename.
- Type BK-Normal.dotm as the new name and press Enter.
- Launch Word, and the app will make a new default document template.
Repair Microsoft Office on Your Computer
If Word’s spell checker still doesn’t work, your Microsoft Office installation may have a problem. In this case, use Office’s repair tool to fix the issues with all your Office apps, including Word.
The repair tool is built into Office, so you don’t have to download or install the tool on your computer.
- Launch Control Panel on your PC by opening the Start menu, searching for Control Panel, and selecting the utility in the search results.
- Select Uninstall a program on the Control Panel window. (Don’t worry, you aren’t uninstalling anything.)
- Choose Microsoft Office on the list and select Change at the top.
- Select Yes in the User Account Control prompt.
- Enable the Quick Repair option and select Repair at the bottom. If Quick Repair doesn’t fix your Office apps, you may use the Online Repair option.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to resolve your Office app problems.
Many Ways to Fix Spell Check Not Working in Word
Microsoft Word’s spell check feature not working could be a huge inconvenience if you heavily rely on this feature to fix issues in your documents. Luckily, you have several methods, as outlined above, to get around the problem and fix the broken spell checker. We hope the guide above helps you out.