Latest posts by techwriter (see all)
- 101 Tips and Tutorials to Write Like a Pro - August 17, 2017
- How to Find a Technical Writing Job – Some Ideas and Resources - August 9, 2017
- BOOK REVIEW: “Design for How People Learn” by Julie Dirksen - July 10, 2017
Microsoft Word comes with a powerful dictionary and spell checker. It is very easy to add new words to MS’s default customary dictionary (file name: CUSTOM.DIC) as well.
When MS comes across a word that is not in this default dictionary, the right-click pop-up menu asks whether you’d like to “Add to Dictionary”. Click that option and you are done. The new word is added to CUSTOM.DIC. Next time, MS will know how to correct the misspelling of that particular word.
But sometimes, when you are writing about a very esoteric subject, or perhaps when you are using many foreign words or jargon, or working on a temporary project, you may want to keep the default custom dictionary as is and create your own project-specific customized dictionary. When the project is done, you may want to remove it from your computer altogether.
How to create your own customized dictionary
1. Launch your Note pad, or non-MS Word writing program. (MS Word unfortunately inserts a lot of invisible code to the text which might affect your dictionary list in unpredictable ways.)
2. Enter all your special words, one word per line. Make sure to enter multi-word phrases one word per line. After you type in each word, press Enter and go to the next line.
3. Give your special dictionary a name that ends with “.dic” (For example, “SoccerDictionary.dic”) and save it to C:\Documents and Settings\Application Data\MicrosoftProof
How to launch and use your customized dictionary
1. Open the text that you would like to spell check by using your customized dictionary.
2. Select Tools > Options.
3. Select the Spelling & Grammar tab.
4. Click Custom Dictionaries button to display the Custom Dictionaries dialog box. You will see your newly created dictionary is listed in there, right next to the CUSTOM.DIC.
5. Check the check-box of your customized dictionary (if you like, IN ADDITION to the CUSTOM.DIC. It would not hurt.) Do NOT remove “CUSTOM.DIC” since that would impact all the other MS documents that have already used it.
6. While you are here, you can also modify the content of any listed dictionary by selecting it and clicking the Modify button. You can easily add new words in this fashion.
7. Click OK and return to your main document.
Now when you do a spell check (F7), Word will suggest alternatives not only from its default dictionary but from the custom dictionary that you have created as well.
Alternatively, when you right click your mouse over a word that has a red underline, Word will suggest alternatives not only from its default dictionary but from your customized dictionary as well.
You can create and use as many similar customized dictionaries as you like. And when you are done with that special project, you can just simply turn them off at Tools > Options > Spelling & Grammar > Custom Dictionaries.
If you think you’ll never again use that special set of terminology, you can also delete a customized dictionary altogether from the C:\Documents and Settings\Application Data\MicrosoftProof