This week’s Power Tip is about spell check – functionality that is in all four of the main Office for Mac 2011 applications – and how to enable it and disable it in certain special situations. I’ll share some examples later in this post.
To start off with some background, the spell check functionality in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is implemented in an Office-specific, suite-wide tool. However, the same spell check in Outlook uses functionality built into Mac OS X. While the basic features of these two spell check tools are the same, many of the details are different – this week’s tip applies only to the Office-specific spell check in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll share more on Outlook spell check for a future Power Tip.
Not surprisingly, most Office users are familiar with spell checking since they see the red or green squiggles underneath text that indicate a possible spelling error (red) or a possible grammar error (green):
The special situation I mentioned earlier is when your document contains text in multiple languages, like this passage from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:
Notice that the Word spell check has indicated that almost every word in the French passage is a potential spelling error. This is because Word has invoked the US English spell check for both paragraphs in the figure above. To spell check the French passage – and to get rid of all these annoying red squiggles – I need to let Word know that the first paragraph of these passage is in French. You’ll find that when the language of a text passage is correctly set, Word will automatically invoke the correct spell check. Adjust your own setting by going to the Language… menu item on the Tools menu in Word. (And in similar locations in Excel and PowerPoint.) Given that this is an example of a Word feature that is not in the ribbon, you need to access this from the Word menus.
Choosing the Language… menu item presents the Language dialog for setting the language property of the selected text:
After setting this to French, Word will automatically invoke the French spell check for the first paragraph and yet continue to invoke the default English spell check for the remaining paragraph, removing all the red and green squiggles:
Let’s try to use this tip for the following passage, which students of Latin will recognize as the opening words of The Gallic Wars by Julius Caesar:
Using the Language dialog I try to set the language property of the first paragraph:
only to find that Latin is not a supported language in Word 2011.
Typically, we don’t reveal plans for any updates to future version of Office for Mac, but today I am going to break that rule. I can tell you that MacBU has absolutely no plans to add Latin spell check in any future version of Office for Mac. So, what can be done about all those annoying red squiggles?
The secret to getting rid of them is the second part of this week’s tip: Use the “Do not check spelling or grammar” checkbox in the Language dialog to disable spell check for this small portion of Latin text:
After doing so, the red squiggles disappear:
Now, you have everything you need to know to avoid being haunted by those troublesome red and green squiggles. Let me know if you find it helpful in writing papers, creating PowerPoint presentations or tallying up figures in Excel. See you again next week!
-Kurt Schmucker, Office for Mac Evangelist