Imagine this scenario: you have created a specialized, medical presentation that's full of squiggly, red, underlined words! These squiggly underlines indicate what PowerPoint considers to be as a misspelled word! Don't blame PowerPoint, because its medical terminology is somewhat limited. We do know that almost all the words in your medical presentation are perfectly valid as far as spelling is concerned. The silver lining here though is that you can teach PowerPoint to spell those words, and enhance PowerPoint's custom dictionary.
Of course, not only can you teach PowerPoint how to spell medical words, but you can also teach the program how to spell words that enhance lexicons in various other subjects such as research, law, computing, etc. Any changes you make by adding new spellings of words in PowerPoint will also influence spell checking in other Microsoft Office programs such as Word, Excel, or Outlook because they all share the same dictionaries.
Typically, when you encounter a word indicated as misspelled, you can right-click to bring the contextual menu that you see in Figure 1, and then select the Add to Dictionary option. This action adds a new word to PowerPoint's custom dictionary.
Figure 1: Add to Dictionary option selected
A custom dictionary is essentially a list of words that is different from PowerPoint's regular, built-in dictionary. Typically, PowerPoint refers to both its built-in and custom dictionaries to ascertain if any word is misspelled.
Here is a typical side-effect of adding new words to your custom dictionary: you may click the Add to Dictionary option sometimes due to your cursor slipping, or just by mistake otherwise. Yes, you can remove that misspelled word from the dictionary, and also add new words to the dictionary by editing your Custom Dictionary:
- Launch PowerPoint 2013 for Windows if it is not already open, and choose File | Options, as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Options within the File menu
- This opens the PowerPoint Options dialog box, click the Proofing option within the sidebar to view the interface that you see in Figure 3, below.
Figure 3: Proofing section of PowerPoint Options dialog box includes the Custom Dictionaries button
- Click the Custom Dictionaries button (highlighted in red within Figure 3, above). This summons the Custom Dictionaries dialog box, as shown in Figure 4. Note that there is only one dictionary at this point of time named RoamingCustom.dic (highlighted in red within Figure 4). However, it is entirely possible to have more than one custom dictionary.
Figure 4: Custom Dictionaries dialog box displaying list of dictionaries
- To edit the words within the selected RoamingCustom.dic dictionary (or any other dictionary), select it and click the Edit Word List button, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 4, above.
- This opens the RoamingCustom.dic dialog box with a list of the words in the dictionary, as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5: RoamingCustom.dic dialog box
- Note that the Add button in the dialog box (highlighted in blue within
Figure 5) is grayed out.
- To add a word within this dictionary, type the word within the Word(s) box (highlighted in red within Figure 6). Note that as soon as a new word is typed, the Add button (highlighted in blue within Figure 6) is activated. Click the Add button to include this new word within your custom dictionary.
Figure 6: Enter a new word within the Word(s) box to add it to the dictionary
- To delete any existing word, just select it (refer to Figure 7), and click the Delete button (highlighted in red within Figure 7).
Figure 7: Word selected for deletion
- Once you are done with adding/deleting words in the *.dic dialog box (which is RoamingCustom.dic in this tutorial), click the OK button. This will take you back to Custom Dictionaries dialog box, where click the OK button to save any changes you made.
- Save your presentation often.