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How to use a computer spellcheck

Running the spellcheck

If you use a computer to do your writing, you can run the spellcheck to see if you have made any spelling mistakes. When you ask the computer to help you correct your work, it reads through every word you have written and checks to see if the word is in its dictionary. If it isnít, it shows you a dialogue box like the one you can see in the picture below (from Microsoft Works).

Spell Check dialog box 1

Here the computer has stopped on someoneís name (your own, maybe), because it doesnít have non-English names in its dictionary. If the name is spelled right, you can click the Ignore box. This tells the computer that the word is OK and does not need to be changed. Click Ignore every time you are happy with the spelling of a word.

In the next dialogue box (from Microsoft Word), the computer has stopped on the word freind. This is not a name and it is indeed spelled wrong. The computer has suggested some corrections, and you should find the one you want. Usually, this will be the first word or the only word in the list, unless your spelling is very wrong! Now you have to double-click on the correct word, or click on Change if the correct word is highlighted. The computer will then change your word and move to the next problem.

Spell Check dialog box 1

Sometimes the computer does not show the correct spelling, but you know what it is. (Maybe you just made a typing mistake.) In this case you can click in the Change To box and make the change yourself.

Problems in using the spellcheck

Once you know how to use the spellcheck, it will find and correct most of your mistakes. But there are one or two things to know about:

More advice on using the spellcheck


Frankfurt International School: Art and artists. (Click to see at full size.)