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

Double Indenting

Indenting a paragraph is easy in Word. In fact, the program provides shortcut keys that make it a snap. Indenting from ...

Discover More

Understanding Default Insert Date Formatting

Insert a date into Word, and you are presented with a variety of formats you can choose from for that date. The default ...

Discover More

Pulling Access Information into Excel

If you have a lot of data stored in Access databases, you may want to get at that information using Excel. There are a ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Selecting Multiple Cells by Mistake

Click on a cell and you expect the single cell to be selected. If you instead get a group of cells, it can be frustrating ...

Discover More

Controlling Display of Page Breaks

Do you want page breaks displayed on the screen? Excel allows you to specify whether it should show those page breaks or not.

Discover More

Accessing Old Excel Data

If you have some legacy data stored in very old spreadsheet files, you may be wondering how to get that data into an ...

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. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 9 - 4?

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.