Do you 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 its 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. Yet, they are perfectly valid as far as their 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 365 for Windows:
- If you have launched PowerPoint, choose Options, as shown highlighted in green within Figure 1, below. Alternatively, if you already have a presentation open, choose the File menu to bring up Backstage view, and select Options. You can also press both the Alt and T keys together, and next press O.
Figure 1: Options tab of Backstage view
- Either way, you bring up the PowerPoint Options dialog box. Click the Proofing option within the sidebar, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2, below.
Figure 2: Proofing tab in PowerPoint Options
- Now, click the Custom Dictionaries button, highlighted in blue within Figure 2, above. Doing so summons the Custom Dictionaries dialog box, shown in Figure 3, below. Note that there will be at least one dictionary named RoamingCustom.dic, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3. This is typically the default custom dictionary to which you manually add new spellings.
Figure 3: The default custom dictionary
- Within the Custom Dictionaries dialog box, click the Add button, highlighted in blue within Figure 3, above. Doing so brings up the Add Custom Dictionary dialog box, as shown in Figure 4, below.
Figure 4: Add a custom dictionary to PowerPoint
- 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, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 4, above.
- This action adds the selected dictionary within the Custom Dictionaries dialog box, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 5, below.
Figure 5: New dictionary added in the Custom Dictionaries dialog box
- The dictionaries you add within PowerPoint are available within all Microsoft Office programs installed on your computer, including Word, Excel, and Outlook. Conversely, any dictionary you add within these programs is also available within PowerPoint.
- 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, below.
Figure 6: Remove custom dictionary
- Once done, click the OK button within the Custom Dictionaries dialog box, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 6, above, 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, as shown in Figure 7, below.
Figure 7: Do you need a medical dictionary?
- Save your presentation often.
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