MS-PowerPoint / Getting Started

Fine-tuning the spell checker

Especially if you deal in jargon and foreign languages, you owe it to yourself to fine-tune the spell checker. It can help you proofread foreign languages and make sure that your jargon, no matter how arcane, gets used correctly in slide presentations. These pages explain the nuances of the spell checker.

Choosing how to handle uppercase words, numbers

In spell checks, PowerPoint ignores the following:

  1. Words in uppercase letters, which are considered acronyms and not worth spell checking.
  2. Words that contain numbers.

If you need to spell check any of these items, press F7 to open the Spelling and Grammar dialog box and then click the Options button. You see the Proofing category of the PowerPoint Options dialog box. You will find check boxes that you can click to spell check uppercase words, words with numbers, and Internet and file addresses. By the way, PowerPoint does not spell check e-mail addresses. Sorry, but when it sees the at sign (@), it assumes that it's dealing with an e-mail address, and it skips merrily along to the next word.

Spell checking text in foreign languages

Spanish and French dictionaries are included in the version of PowerPoint that is sold in the United States. That means you can spell check Spanish and French words. You can spell check words in other languages, too, as long as you installed proofing tools for those languages and told PowerPoint which languages you intend to use. Right-click a misspelled word or press F7, and PowerPoint proofs the word in the foreign language.

Employing other dictionaries to help with spell checking

To find spelling errors, PowerPoint compares each word on the page to the words in its main dictionary and a second dictionary called Custom.dic. If a word you type is not found in either dictionary, the program considers the word a misspelling. The main dictionary lists all known words in the English language, the Custom.dic dictionary lists words, proper names, and technical jargon that you deemed legitimate when you clicked the Add button in the course of a spell check and added a word to the Custom.dic dictonary. In Figure below, for example, the word "elephent" is being added to the Custom.dic dictionary. Never again will the spell checker pause over this mutant form of the word "elephant" because we are adding it to the Custom.dic dictionary.

Add to Dictionary

From PowerPoint's standpoint, a dictionary is merely a list of words, one word per line, that have been saved in a .dic (dictionary) file. Besides the Custom.dic dictionary, you can employ other dictionaries to help with spell checking. People who work in specialized professions such as law or medicine can also use legal dictionaries and medical dictionaries to spell check their work. You can create dictionaries of your own for slang words, colloquialisms, or special projects. Before you start spell checking, you can tell PowerPoint which dictionaries to use. You can edit dictionaries as well. All this magic is done by way of the Custom Dictionaries dialog box, shown in Figure below and explained in the pages that follow. Follow these steps to open the Custom Dictionaries dialog box:

  1. Press F7. You see the Spelling and Grammar dialog box.
  2. Click the Options button. The Proofing category of the PowerPoint Options dialog box opens.
  3. Click the Custom Dictionaries button.
    With the Custom Dictionaries dialog box open, you can create a new spelling dictionary, tell PowerPoint to use a third-party dictionary you acquired, edit words in a dictionary, and tell PowerPoint which dictionary to use in a spell check. Better keep reading.
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