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Spellcheck hack
October 29, 2007 2:45 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way I can only use the user dictionary in MS Word, without using the built-in dictionary? In other words, let's say I have three words in a user dictionary: "cat", "mouse", and "fish". I want MS Word to underline every word that I type, other than "cat", "mouse", or "fish". Solutions involving other software or scripts are welcome, as long as they are free and aren't too complicated.
posted by strangeguitars to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
 
An imperfect solution would be to set the language of the document to some language you don't use. Then, if you type in English, the dictionary will be effectively empty, and will underline everything. Then add your chosen words to the user dictionary. Of course, any overlapping words between English and the other language won't be underlined.
posted by beniamino at 3:03 AM on October 29, 2007


If there are only three words, I would:
type my entire document
select all
underline

find and replace using format options:
that is, find cat, replace cat format no underline.
find mouse, replace mouse format no underline.
find fish, replace fish format no underline.

After that, it might get a bit tiring. Oh, and do be sure to use spaces around your find & replace words, or you will find that category and selfish also change even if you didn't want them too.
posted by b33j at 3:15 AM on October 29, 2007


But better still, Word has instructions for creating a custom dictionary that you can make your default. Try looking under this Create or add a custom dictionary
posted by b33j at 3:17 AM on October 29, 2007


Haven't been successful at that. Maybe I'm missing something, but if I set text to be Spanish, for example, and I type obviously non-Spanish words, there is no red underlining.

How are you setting the language of the document?
posted by strangeguitars at 3:18 AM on October 29, 2007


b33j: I was just using three words as an example. Actually I want to put hundreds, or even thousands of words into the custom dictionary.

The purpose in me doing this is so I can enter a list of the 1,000 (or less or more) most common words in English into the custom dictionary and then have Word underline the words that are outside of that list when I paste or write in a text. This is for ESL reading material development.
posted by strangeguitars at 3:26 AM on October 29, 2007


To change the language, just selecting the text and then Tools->Language->Select something should do it (on a Mac, at least). Or you can set the language as default in the same place. If no spellchecking happens at all, it might be because your version of Word doesn't have a dictionary in the selected language.
posted by beniamino at 4:19 AM on October 29, 2007


I guess you could find where on the disc the built-in dictionaries are stored and create and empty file there. Assuming there's no special formatting or anything to the file, that may be interpreted as a vocabulary of zero.

Then, select that "language" in your program, and use it.
posted by cmiller at 6:06 AM on October 29, 2007


Word doesn't really allow you to remove words from the built in dictionary, but you can create an exclusion list of words you'd like to be flagged as spelled incorrectly. Instructions here.

I'm not sure how useful that will prove given what you're trying to achieve. Maybe if you found a comprehensive custom dictionary, you could use that as your exclusion list?
posted by JaredSeth at 7:06 AM on October 29, 2007


OK, I totally did it using OpenOffice.org Writer. All I had to do was change the entries in their English dictionary. The only confusing part was that it wouldn't take effect until I restarted the computer.

I'm good to go!
posted by strangeguitars at 3:58 AM on November 8, 2007


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