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How to Use Custom Dictionaries in Word 2013

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If you have the option on for checking spelling as you type in Word 2013, you can easily add words to the custom dictionary, using the context menu. However, what if you want to add or delete many custom words, or even add specialized dictionaries?

We will show you how to add words to and delete words from a custom dictionary in Word 2013, create a new custom dictionary, or even add third-party custom dictionaries.

To access the custom dictionaries in Word 2013, click the FILE tab.

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Click Options in the list on the left side of the screen.

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On the Word Options dialog box, click Proofing in the list of options on the left.

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Scroll down to the When correcting spelling in Microsoft Office programs section and click Custom Dictionaries.

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On the Custom Dictionaries dialog box, you can manually edit the word list in each custom dictionary. Select the custom dictionary in the list and click Edit Word List.

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To add a word to the selected custom dictionary, enter a word in the Word(s) edit box and click Add. To remove a word, select the word in the Dictionary list and click Delete. If you want to clear the entire list from the custom dictionary, click Delete all.

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You can quickly add words to the custom dictionary by right-clicking on a word that has a red, squiggly underline under it and selecting Add to Dictionary option. This adds the selected word(s) to the default custom dictionary. To change which custom dictionary is the default, select the desired dictionary from the Dictionary List and click Change Default.

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NOTE: The Add to Dictionary option is only available when the option for checking spelling as you type is also on. This option is also on the Proofing screen in the When correcting spelling and grammar in Word section on the Word Options dialog box.

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You can also add third-party custom dictionaries to Word to expand the list of words to which it refers when checking spelling. To do this, click Add on the Custom Dictionaries dialog box.

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Navigate to the location of the third-party custom dictionary you want to add, select the *.dic file, and click Open.

NOTE: As an example, we found a free medical dictionary we decided to add to Word.

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The added custom dictionary displays in the Dictionary List.

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You can also create multiple new custom dictionaries, if, for example, you want to separate your word lists. To create a new custom dictionary, click New on the Custom Dictionaries dialog box.

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The location for the custom dictionaries is C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\UProof by default. This is the directory that is selected on the Create Custom Dictionary dialog box. Enter a name for your new custom dictionary in the File name edit box and click Save.

NOTE: Be sure to keep the .dic extension on the file name.

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To add words to your new custom dictionary, select the dictionary in the list and click Edit Word List. Add any desired words using the Add button and click OK to close the dialog box.

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To remove a custom dictionary you don’t want to use anymore, select the dictionary in the list and click Remove.

NOTE: The .dic file is NOT removed from the hard drive, only from the list of custom dictionaries Word uses.

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When you create a new custom dictionary, Word associates all languages with the dictionary. That means the dictionary is used to check spelling of text in any language. You can associate a particular language with a custom dictionary so Word uses that dictionary only when you check the spelling of text in that particular language.

To change the language associated with a custom dictionary, select the desired dictionary in the list and select a language from the Dictionary language drop-down list.

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When you have finished setting up your custom dictionaries, click OK on the Custom Dictionaries dialog box to close it and save your changes.

Once you’ve set up your custom dictionaries the way you want them, you can back them up so you don’t have to go to the trouble of setting them up again. You can also easily transfer them to another computer. We’ve previously published an article that talks about transferring and moving your Microsoft Office custom dictionary for Office 2003 and 2007, but it still works the same way in Office 2010 and Office 2013.

Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 03/28/13

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