How to turn on the automatic spell check in Word 2010

The spelling checker does not flag misspelled words in Word 2007 and in Word 2010.

Symptom 1

When you type a misspelled word in Microsoft Office Word 2007 or in Microsoft Word 2010, it is not flagged by the spelling checker.

Symptom 2

When you click the Spelling & Grammar button in the Proofing group on the Review tab in Word 2007 or in Word 2010, one of the following messages is displayed:

§ The spelling and grammar check is complete.

§ Proofing Tools are not installed for default language, try re-installing proofing tools.

This issue may occur for any one of several reasons

§ The Speller EN-US add-in is disabled.

§ The following entry is present in the registry:

§ HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Shared Tools\ProofingTools\1.0\Override\en-US

§ The Do not check spelling or grammar check box is selected.

§ Proofing tools are not installed.


To resolve the issue, use one or more of the following methods. Start with method 1. If the registry key is not listed as being on the system, or if the problem remains, try method 2 and then test again. Continue through the list of methods until the spelling checker works. 

Method : Install proofing tools

1. Exit all programs.

2. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

3. In Windows Vista, double-click Programs and Features. In earlier versions of Windows, double-click Add or Remove Programs.

4. Click Microsoft Office Edition, and then click Change.
Note In this step and in the following step, the placeholder Edition represents the Microsoft Office edition that is installed on the computer.

5. In the Microsoft Office Edition dialog box, click Add or Remove Features, and then click Continue.

6. Expand Office Shared Features, click the icon to the left of Proofing Tools, and then click Run all from My Computer.

Method 2: Enable the Speller EN-US add-in

1. In Word 2007 or in Word 2010, click the Office button, and then click Word Options.

2. On the left, click Add-Ins.

3. At the bottom of the Word Options dialog box, click COM Add-ins, click Disabled items, and then click Go.

4. In the Disabled Items dialog box, locate Speller EN-US (nlsdata0009.dll).

5. If Speller EN-US (nlsdata0009.dll) is listed, click it, and then click Enable.

Method 3: Modify the registry

Important This article contains information about how to modify the registry. Make sure that you back up the registry before you modify it. Make sure that you know how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up, restore, and modify the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

322756  How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

To have us remove the related registry key from the registry for you, go to the “Fix it for me” section. If you prefer to fix this problem yourself, go to the “Let me fix it myself” section.

Addon Soliutions

In Word 2010:

1. Select the text you want to affect. You can use Ctrl + A to select all the text in the document.

2. Review tab > Language group > Language button > Set Proofing Language

3. In the Language dialog, select the language you want to use for spell checking.

In Word 2007:

Review tab > Proofing group > Set Language will accomplish the same thing.

Verify Your Language & Check Spelling Options

1. Open the problem document.

2. Press the Ctrl+A keys to select the entire text.

3. From the Tools menu, select Language then Set Language…

4. In the Language dialog make sure the correct language is selected.

5. Verify the checkbox Do not check spelling or grammar is unchecked.

6. Click OK.

7. Recheck your document.

For Word 2007, the Set Language dialog is found on theReview tab.

I wish I could say the above method is foolproof. On occasion after following the above steps, I get the following message as shown below.


This message suggests your document still has a section that is marked with “Do not check spelling or grammar”. I don’t know of any easy way to find these marks. Instead, I tend to find a paragraph with a misspelling, highlight it and press Shift + F1.

This opens the Reveal Formatting pane where you can verify your language (1) is what you expect and (2) if the paragraph has spell check turned off. In the example below, you can see the highlighted paragraph is coded not to check for spelling.


Problem 2: Spell Check Doesn’t Work For Any Documents

This second problem can be a real annoyance with many variations. The suggestions range from easy to a registry change.

Solution 1: Verify the “check spelling as you type” feature is on

To verify Spelling and Grammar Checkers are on,

1. From the Tools menu, select Options…

2. On the Options dialog, click the Spelling and Grammar tab.

3. Check the boxes for Check spelling as you type and Check grammar as you type.

4. Click OK.

For Word 2007, click the Microsoft Office button in the top left and click the Word Options button. The spelling and grammar options are under Proofing.

Solution 2: Verify Another Word Add-in Isn’t Interfering

Your problem may be caused by a combination of factors such as another Word add-in. The way to verify this is to see if spell-check works in “safe mode”. Safe Mode is a reduced functionality state where Microsoft Word loads without add-ins.

1. Hold down your Ctrl key and the press the icon or menu option for Word.

2. Click Yes when the Safe Mode dialog appears.

3. Open up an existing document.

4. Press F7 to run spell check.

Solution 3: Rename Your Word Template

It could be that your problem is tied to your global template which is either or normal.dotm for Word 2007. These files are usually found in your \Microsoft\Templates folder. When you rename the template, Word will reset itself to the default settings.

Because your global template file contains your settings, I would rename the file to something like or normalPRV.dotm so you can change the name back if this suggestion doesn’t work.

Solution 4: Try Detect and Repair

Every now and then, I have the spell-check feature go wonky after some other software update or hardware change. I suspect some registry entry has become corrupted. In these rare cases, you may be able to solve the problem using the built in Detect and Repair… feature. In Word 2007, this is called Diagnose. Before running this utility, make sure you have your installation media as you may be prompted for a CD.

In Word 2003, the Detect and Repair function is found on theHelp menu. For Word 2007,

1. Click the Microsoft Office button in the top left.

2. Click the Word Options button in the lower right.

3. Select Resources from the left column.

4. Click the Diagnose button

Solution 5: Rename a Windows Registry Folder

I don’t like giving instruction on using the Windows registry. But sometimes, the solution lies in this area. If you’re not familiar with this area, I strongly recommend you read Microsoft’s Windows registry information for advanced users.

As with an earlier suggestion, I rename the folder rather than deleting it. Some people rely on third party dictionaries that may use some of these entries. If you find after renaming the folder your 3rd party dictionary doesn’t work, you can revert the changes.

To rename the Proofing Tools folder,

1. Close Word

2. Click the Start button

3. Click Run…

4. Type regedit

5. Click OK

6. Expand the left pane to HKEY_CURRENT_USER | Software| Microsoft | Shared Tools | Proofing Tools

7. Right-click the folder named 1.0

8. Select Rename from the menu

9. Rename folder to 1PRV.0

10. Close regedit.

11. Restart Word.

Note: Windows Vista users can skip step 3 and type regedit in the Start Search box


Hopefully, the solutions provided resolve your spell check problem. As the saying goes, “your mileage may differ” and require a different solution. If that’s the case, I’d recommend these other resources:

Discussion in Microsoft.public.word.spelling.grammar

Microsoft article on troubleshooting proofing tools

This entry was posted in How To, MS Office and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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