Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Editing the Custom Spelling Dictionaries.

Editing the Custom Spelling Dictionaries

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 26, 2015)

2

As you use the spell-checking capabilities of Excel, you undoubtedly have added words to your custom dictionary. Normally you do this when you run across a word that the main dictionary does not understand, but which you know is correct. When you click on the Add button in the spell-check dialog box, the word is added to your custom dictionary.

When you add a word to your custom dictionary, it is added to the same custom dictionary that is used by other Office applications, such as Word. This dictionary is nothing but a plain text file that contains the list of added words, one per line. The default name for the custom dictionary is Custom.dic, and you can search for it using the Find feature in Windows.

When you locate the custom dictionary, you can load it into Notepad and make any changes you want. The only thing to be careful about is that you put only one word per line, and that you don't save the file in any format except plain text. This is why it is preferred that you use Notepad to edit the file, rather than a program like Word or Excel.

If you are not comfortable using a text editor to make changes to the dictionary, you can use Word to make the changes. (You can't do it in Excel; it doesn't provide the ability to edit the custom dictionary, even though it uses the same one as Word.) Follow these steps from within Word:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Spelling & Grammar tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Spelling & Grammar tab of the Options dialog box, in Word.

  4. Click on the Dictionaries button (in some versions of Word it is the Custom Dictionary button).
  5. In the list of dictionaries, select the one you want to edit.
  6. Click the Edit or Modify button. The dictionary is opened, as a document, and you can make changes to it.
  7. Close the dictionary document when you are through editing it.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3034) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Editing the Custom Spelling Dictionaries.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Setting Your Default Document Directory

Word allows you to specify where it should start looking for your documents. This setting can come in handy if you store your ...

Discover More

Choosing an Insert Method for Pictures

The way that you choose to add pictures to your document can have an effect on the file size of those documents. It is best ...

Discover More

Finding and Replacing Text in Comments

Excel allows you to add comments to individual cells in your workbook. Unfortunately, Excel doesn't provide a way to search ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Counting the Times a Worksheet is Used

Do you need to know how many times a worksheet has been used? Excel doesn't track that information, but you can develop some ...

Discover More

Conditionally Playing an Audio File

You can add audio files to an Excel worksheet, but what if you want a particular audio file to play only when a value in a ...

Discover More

Grabbing a User's Name from Excel

One of the settings you can make in Excel is to specify a user's name. This name is accessible through macros, and can ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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. 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 five less than 5?

2016-10-26 13:03:40

George F

Thanks for the info on custom.dic ... My problem is I cannot get my old Windows Word 2000 to look back at the original English dictionary. It only looks a my mini custom What should I look for to add it to the file location under the options. I am running the antique office 2000 on windows 10 .


2015-09-27 02:07:59

Mohammad Ahmad

Thank you for the guidance. I needed it most, but was unaware of it.

Thanks,

Mohammad Ahmad


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, 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.