How to change the proofing language in 2 clicks

If you write texts in Word, or other Office software, in various languages, you want to change to use the right dictionary for spelling and grammar checks. By default, Word detects automatically the language you are writing in and choses the right dictionary. However, if you mix languages in the same document, it may have difficulties to recognize which part is in one language and which is in another language.

Two languages in the same document

For instance, in the following screen shot, the first sentence is in French, and the second in English. Note that the second one is underlined with what Word has identified as a mistake.

However, the second sentence is correct. It’s just that Word is using the French dictionary as the beginning of the document in in French. How do you know which dictionary is used?

Choosing the right dictionary

Have a look at the bottom left of the screen shot. You will see French (France). This is the current dictionary used. If you select the second sentence and double-click on the French (France) words, the Language box will appear, allowing you to change the dictionary.

You can then select the English (United States) dictionary so Word understands this is an English text, and click OK. This dialog box can also be reached through the Review menu, by clicking Language, then Set Proofing Language. Notice the Detect language automatically check box. This option allows Word to choose the right language. On the other hand, if you check the box Do not check spelling or grammar, Word keeps your mistake unnoticed. Although, it’s not 100% fool proof, spelling and grammar checking is a very convenient feature. You can know change your language in a matter of two clicks.

4 Comments on “How to change the proofing language in 2 clicks”

  1. It’s been years since I last used Word routinely, but I wish I’d known this then, as I did quite a bit of work with overseas vendors. How this might have simplified my work day! You provide a useful service, with your valuable tips. Thank you.

  2. Hi Marc, unfortunately this is not working on my computer. Although I selected French as default, it does not recognise french writing. I’ve tried many settings but ended up with a headache and frustration. Any chance you would have another solution? Cheers.

    1. Hey Laura, have you checked you have the right dictionaries? For instance in Word, got to File, Options, Languages, and check that the French dictionary is available in the Choose Editing Languages box. If not, you can add it. Let me know if this solves your issue.

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