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Edit Custom Dictionaries in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how to edit custom dictionaries in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows. You can add, alter, and remove words.

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 a list of words you add; this makes it different from PowerPoint's regular, built-in dictionary. Typically, PowerPoint refers to both its built-in and custom dictionaries to identify any misspelled word.

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 a slipped mouse click or by error. Yes, you can remove that misspelled word from the dictionary, and also add new words to the dictionary by editing your Custom Dictionary:

  1. Launch PowerPoint 2016 for Windows if it is not already open, and choose File | Options, as shown in Figure 2.

  2. Figure 2: Options within the File menu
  3. 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.

  4. Figure 3: Proofing section of PowerPoint Options dialog box includes the Custom Dictionaries button
  5. 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 blue within Figure 4). However, it is entirely possible to have more than one custom dictionary.

  6. Figure 4: Custom Dictionaries dialog box displaying list of dictionaries
  7. 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 red within Figure 4, above.


  8. This opens a dialog box with a list of words, as shown in Figure 5.

  9. Figure 5: RoamingCustom.dic dialog box
  10. Note that the Add button in the dialog box (highlighted in blue within Figure 5) is grayed out.
  11. Note: In Figure 4 above, you can see that the dialog box is named RoamingCustom.dic. The name of this dialog box differs based upon the dictionary you have selected within the Custom Dictionaries dialog box. In this case, we had selected the RoamingCustom.dic, hence the name. If you have selected other dictionary, the dialog box will read the name of the other selected dictionary.
  12. 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) gets activated. Click the Add button to include this new word within your custom dictionary.

  13. Figure 6: Enter a new word within the Word(s) box to add it to the dictionary
  14. To delete any existing word, just select it (refer to Figure 7), and click the Delete button (highlighted in red within Figure 7).

  15. Figure 7: Word selected for deletion
  16. 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.
  17. Share Dictionaries?

    Do you want to share custom dictionaries you have created and compiled over the years? Yes, this is possible! To learn more, see our Sharing Custom Dictionaries in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows tutorial.
  18. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Edit Custom Dictionaries in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Edit Custom Dictionaries in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Edit Custom Dictionaries in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows