This is a tough one for you, Dave: While using my PC to write a paper, my daughter added every misspelled word in her paper to the dictionary. Now I can’t get the words I do misspell flagged so I can fix them! How do I fix it all up so the spelling system works?
The first question I’d have in this situation is: What was your daughter’s thinking and explanation when she choose “Add to Dictionary” for misspelled words instead of just fixing the spelling? I mean the red squiggle underneath misspelled words can be annoying, I suppose, but the smart move is then just to fix it! 🙂
Fortunately, this is fixable in Windows 10 and not even that hard to accomplish! The trick is to use Cortana (aka Windows search) to find where the spelling settings and user dictionary are located. But that’s jumping ahead. Let’s start by just looking at spell check in Windows 10, because it’s not in a lot of programs. One easy place to access spell check is within Microsoft Edge, so let’s do that. Here’s a text passage with a spelling error:
Of course there’s a usage error here too, the homonym “reign” instead of “rain”, but… spell check isn’t going to catch that mistake! It did recognize that Espana is a spelling mistake in English. Well, in Spanish too because it should be España, actually. In any case, right click on the word with the red spelling mistake squiggle and you’ll get a list of suggested corrections:
Below that, as your daughter figured out, is “Add to dictionary” or “Ignore”. What’s the difference? Ignoring a spelling mistake will have the error return next time you’re working on the document, but Add to dictionary means that forevermore the misspelled word will be assumed to be correct. The problem is that if you add incorrectly spelled words to the dictionary, the system will never flag it as an error again:
Right. Now, let’s fix it!
Jump down to the Cortana Windows 10 search and look for “user dictionary”:
That’s what you want: “View contents of local user dictionary”. Click on that to proceed and you’ll jump into the Windows 10 user settings:
The fast and easy way to proceed is to simply clear your entire dictionary, though you will have to re-add words that are correctly spelled (like people’s names) that are otherwise then flagged as a spelling error. Honestly, it’s easy enough.
Now, if you don’t have spell check enabled, do a Cortana / Windows search for “spell check” and you’ll get to the spell check settings area. It’s a bit complicated:
You can see the basics, though. A lot of people find autocorrect annoying, so you might experiment with that setting, but certainly Highlight misspelled words is a good one to turn on.
And that’s it. Now you should have enough info to be able to recover from whatever your daughter did. And next time? Give her a separate login on your computer – here’s how to set someone up with their own account on Windows – so she can’t mess up your settings and preferences.
Pro Tip: While you’re here, do check out our extensive Windows help area. We’ve got a lot of content!