Spell Check in Excel

Spell check in excel is a method of detecting spelling errors in text strings. Unlike MS Word and PowerPoint, MS Excel does not underline a misspelled word. As a result, a user may overlook spelling mistakes. Spell check in excel is beneficial when working with databases containing a mix of numbers and text.

For example, the cell references and text strings of a worksheet are listed as follows:

  • Cell A1 consists of “Garden.”
  • Cell A2 consists of “Kitchne.”
  • Cell A3 consists of “Bulding.”
  • Cell A4 consists of “Garage.”

On running a spell check, the “spelling” window opens. It shows the suggestions “kitchen” and “building.” Clicking “change” replaces the misspelled words (in cells A2 and A3) with the suggested options.

The purpose of spell check is to help the user deliver an error-free excel workbook. In addition, a spell check ensures that the text of the workbook is in accordance with the current proofing language.

In Excel, spell check is carried out either by pressing the shortcut F7 or by enabling AutoCorrect. Alternatively, one can click “spelling” from the “proofing” group of the Review tab. This is shown in the succeeding image.

The shortcut (F7) and the “spelling” button (under the Review tab) both open the “spelling” window. This window displays the suggested corrections.

spell check in excel 1

How Spell Check in Excel Works?

Let us understand the working of the Excel spell check by assuming that the range A1:A10 consists of text strings. The user can select any of the following options as the starting point:

  • Select cell A1–Excel checks the entire worksheet for spelling errors.
  • Select cell A5 (or any other cell)–Excel checks for spelling errors beginning from cell A5 till the last data cell. Once it completes the spell check, a message asks whether to continue checking at the beginning of the sheet or not. The user is presented with the following options:

a. Yes–If this is clicked, Excel resumes checking from cell A1 and stops at cell A5.

b. No–If this is clicked, Excel stops checking at that point (last data cell of the worksheet).

You can download this Spell Check Excel Template here – Spell Check Excel Template

Example – Perform Spell Check in Excel

The following image shows the data of a worksheet. The spelling errors have been highlighted in bold. We want to run a spell check in excel using the shortcut key F7.

Assume the cell A1 as the starting point.

spell check in excel example 1

Step 1: Select cell A1 and press F7.

Step 2: The “spelling” dialog box opens, as shown in the succeeding image. The spelling “mostt” is “not in dictionary.” The suggested spelling is “most.”

Step 3: To accept the suggestion, click “change.” To ignore the suggestion, click “ignore once.”

Note: By pressing “ignore once,” the spelling “mostt” remains as is in the worksheet.

spell check in excel example 1-1

Step 4: Once a button is clicked in the preceding step (step 3), the next spelling mistake is displayed. The spelling “pwerful” is incorrect and “not in dictionary.” The suggested spelling is “powerful.”

Click “change” to replace the incorrect spelling with the correct one. Otherwise, click “ignore once” to retain the incorrect spelling as is.

spell check in excel example 1-2

Likewise, the spell check continues till the last data cell of the worksheet.

The Spell Check Window in Excel

The “spelling” dialog box is shown in the following image. Let us understand the functions of the options present on the left side of this window.

spell check in excel example 1-3

Not in dictionary: This shows the misspelled word which is not there in the Excel dictionary. Excel recognizes this word as a spelling mistake.

spell check in excel example 1-4

Suggestions: This displays one or more words which are similar in spelling to the misspelled word. These words are the corrections suggested by Excel.

spell check in excel example 1-5

Dictionary language: This is the selected language, which is adhered to, while checking for the misspelled words.

spell check in excel example 1-6

Let us understand the functions of the various options present on the right side of the “spelling” window. These options are shown with serial numbers in the following image.

spell check in excel example 1-7

In the succeeding pointers, every numbered bullet corresponds to the serial number of the preceding image. The options (shown in the preceding image) are explained as follows:

  1. Ignore once: Clicking this option ignores the current error. So, the misspelled word remains as is.
  2. Ignore all: With this option, all the instances of the misspelled word are ignored. So, all occurrences of the misspelled word remain as is.
  3. Add to the dictionary: This adds the current word to the dictionary. So, going forward, Excel will not identify this word as a spelling mistake. This option should be used if the spelling is correct, but is not present in the dictionary. For instance, an abbreviation or a person’s name can be added to the dictionary.
  4. Change: Clicking this option replaces the misspelled word with the suggested word. One can choose from the suggestions listed in the “spelling” window.
  5. Change all: This replaces all the instances of the misspelled word with the suggested word. Before clicking this option, one can select from the available suggestions.
  6. AutoCorrect: Clicking this option adds the misspelled word and the selected suggestion to the AutoCorrect list. So, going forward, if the same incorrect spelling is typed, Excel will auto-correct it. For example, the misspelled word is “nned” and the suggested word is “need.” With AutoCorrect, every time “nned” is typed, it will automatically be converted to “need.”
  7. Cancel: Clicking this option stops the spell check process and closes the “spelling” window. This can be clicked at any point of time.

The AutoCorrect in Excel

One can turn on or turn off the AutoCorrect feature of Excel. It is also possible to customize the same. The steps to customize the AutoCorrect feature are listed as follows:

  1. Click the File tab on the Excel ribbon.


    step 1

  2. Click “options.”


    step 1-1

  3. The “Excel options” window opens. Click “proofing.”


    step 1-2

  4. Click “AutoCorrect options.”


    step 1-3

  5. The “AutoCorrect” window appears, as shown in the succeeding image.

    In the box under “replace,” type the words which need to be replaced. Type the replacements (corrections) in the box under “with.”

    In other words, Excel is being told to replace the incorrect spellings (in the “replace” box) with the correct ones (in the “with” box).

    Hence, the AutoCorrect feature can be customized as per the requirements of the user.

    Note: The “AutoCorrect” window already lists the typical misspellings and their corrections that are used by default. One can change, add or delete entries from this list.


    step 1-4

The Features of the Spell Check in Excel

The features of the Excel spell check are listed as follows:

  • The spell check ignores the uppercase values. For example, if the word is “KITCHNE,” Excel does not recognize this as an error.
  • The spell check does not correct grammatical errors, unlike MS Word.
  • The default settings of the spell check can be changed by selecting “proofing” from “options” under the File tab.
  • The excel spell check does not recognize a text string containing a number (in one cell) as an error. For example, if the word is “KITCHNE1,” it is not identified as an error.
  • The spell check identifies the repeated words as errors. For example, in the string “this is the the kitchen,” the extra “the” is pointed as an error.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is spell check and where is it in Excel?

Spell check helps in checking the spellings of the Excel worksheet. With the spell check, the user can be assured that there are no spelling errors in the text strings.

Creating visually appealing graphs and charts in Excel are of no use if the text following them contains spelling mistakes. This is the reason why spell check is used in Excel. However, the Excel spell check cannot correct grammatical errors. Moreover, it does not underline the misspelled words.

The Excel spell check can be run by clicking “spelling” in the “proofing” group of the Review tab. The shortcut key for Excel spell check is F7.

2. How to run a spell check on the entire workbook of Excel?

The steps to perform a spell check on the entire workbook are listed as follows:

a. Right-click any sheet tab at the bottom-left side of Excel.
b. Choose “select all sheets” from the context menu. This selects all the sheets of the workbook.
c. Press F7 or click “spelling” from the “proofing” group of the Review tab.

Excel runs a spell check on all the worksheets of the current workbook. If there are any spelling errors (in any worksheet), the “spelling” window appears.

At the end of the process, Excel displays a message confirming that the spell check is complete.

3. How to change the dictionary language used in the spell check process of Excel?

The steps to change the dictionary language in Excel are listed as follows:

a. Click “spelling” in the “proofing” group of the Review tab.
b. The “spelling” window opens. Choose the desired language from the “dictionary language” drop-down.
c. Click “cancel” to close the “spelling” window.
d. Click “spelling” again from the Review tab. Excel begins the spell check with the newly selected language.

Hence, the dictionary language is changed.

Note: In case there are no spelling errors in the worksheet, the “spelling” window will not open. To change the dictionary language in such cases, misspell a word intentionally. In this way, the “spelling” window is made to appear.

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This has been a guide to Spell Check in Excel. Here we discuss how to perform Spell Check in Excel along with step by step examples and shortcuts You may learn more about Excel from the following articles-

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