You may wonder what happens behind the scenes when you run a spell check in PowerPoint or any other Microsoft Office program. This is what happens:
- PowerPoint looks at each word you have typed and matches those words with the entries listed within its dictionary.
- If it comes across any word that the dictionary does not contain, it goes ahead and marks that word as misspelled.
- Then it offers you suggestions for that supposedly misspelled word, so that you can replace that word with any other similar word found within its dictionary.
So why did we use the term "supposedly" in the last sentence? That's because PowerPoint's dictionary is quite basic, and includes mainly words used in common, everyday language. If a word does not exist within that dictionary, it is not necessarily misspelled! There are so many specialized words in different knowledge branches like medicine, research, law, computing, etc. that are not common words. Yet, they are perfectly valid as far as spellings are concerned.
To counter this state of affairs, you can buy several specialized dictionaries. In fact, some great dictionaries are also available free of cost. These dictionaries can be then loaded within PowerPoint and other Microsoft Office programs to give you a larger range of words to use.
Getting a Dictionary for Microsoft Office
For this tutorial, we downloaded this free Medical dictionary from Raj&Co.
Follow these steps to load a dictionary within PowerPoint 2016 for Windows:
- Launch PowerPoint 2016, and choose File | Options, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: 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 2, below.
Figure 2: Proofing section of PowerPoint Options dialog box includes the Custom Dictionaries button
- Now, click the Custom Dictionaries button (highlighted in red within Figure 2, above). This summons the Custom Dictionaries dialog box (see Figure 3). Note that there will be at least one dictionary named RoamingCustom.dic (highlighted in red within Figure 3) This is typically the default custom dictionary to which you manually add new spellings.
Figure 3: Custom Dictionaries dialog box
- Within the Custom Dictionaries dialog box, click the Add button (highlighted in blue within Figure 3, above). This brings up the Add Custom Dictionary dialog box, as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Add Custom Dictionary dialog box
- Within the Add Custom Dictionary dialog box, navigate to the folder that contains your downloaded dictionary, or any dictionary that you want to load. Select a DIC file, and click the Open button (highlighted in red within Figure 4 above).
- This adds the selected dictionary within the Custom Dictionaries dialog box, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 5.
Figure 5: Selected Dictionary Added
- To remove a dictionary from the Dictionary List, just select it within the Custom Dictionaries dialog box, and then click the Remove button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 6.
Figure 6: Custom dictionary selected for deletion
- Once done, click the OK button within the Custom Dictionaries dialog box to save any changes you made.
- Now that we loaded a medical dictionary, PowerPoint no longer puts red, squiggly lines under words such as Abdominoplasty (see Figure 7 below), but Propria Persona is still showing up as misspelled. You may need to get a legal dictionary next!
Figure 7: Do you need a legal dictionary too?
- Save your presentation often.
Loading and Using Custom Dictionaries in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Loading and Using Custom Dictionaries in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Loading and Using Custom Dictionaries in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows