Removing words from the Microsoft Office Custom Dictionary

In Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Entourage, or PowerPoint, when you do a spell check, you have the option to add a word to the custom dictionary.

This is helpful, for instance, if your name is odd, like “Davin.” To stop my name from always appearing when I run a spellcheck, I just clicked the “Add” button in the spelling checker dialogue box to add it to the custom spelling dictionary.

So, adding words is easy. A question from a PowerPoint class today was, “How do I remove words from the spelling dictionary?” In this particular case, someone added a misspelled word and wanted to get it out.

Well, here’s how.

On Windows, go to Start » Search and type in CUSTOM.DIC. Make sure that you are looking for hidden files as well.

When it comes up, open the file in a text editor like Notepad. You’ll see a list of words that are considered okay. To remove one, simply delete that line of the text file and save the file.

That’s it.

On Mac OS 10.x, use Spotlight (the built-in search tool) to look for “Custom Dictionary”. The file will most like be in /Users/yourname/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/

Open that file in a text editing program (BBEdit or TextWrangler are nice. You can probably also use TextEdit.) Again, delete the offending lines and save the file.

Author: Davin Granroth

Davin is Chief Operating Officer for Covenant Eyes, Inc. in Owosso, MI, USA, where he gets to mix his background in user experience design, research, and strategy with the operation of a software company. For more, see his LinkedIn profile.

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