by Jennie Ruby
Technical terms, program names, proper names, and acronyms can light up your Word or PowerPoint screen with red zigzag underlines, causing not only annoyance but also a risk that you will overlook an actual misspelled word. Too often we accept the annoyance and just try to be careful. But the Custom dictionary, which Word and PowerPoint share, can actually help clean up the mess.
Without getting into the nitty-gritty of creating your own custom dictionary from a text-only file, you can add your most often used technical terms, names, and so on to the default custom dictionary. And if you accidentally add a word that really should not be in your dictionary, you can delete it, with no harm done.
As you notice the red underlines over the next couple of weeks, start deciding which ones come up often. When you have decided a word or name is worthy, right-click the red underline to display the quick menu, and choose Add to Dictionary.
To delete a word from the Custom dictionary, in Word or PowerPoint 2007 click the Office Button, and at the lower right of the menu, click Word Options or PowerPoint Options.
In the left column select Proofing, and then click the Custom Dictionaries button. In the Custom Dictionaries dialog box, make sure the Custom dictionary [Custom.dic] is selected, and click Edit Word List.
Locate your word in the list under Dictionary. To find it more quickly, type the first letter and the list scrolls to that section of the alphabetical list. Click the problem word, click Delete, and then click OK on each of the successive dialog boxes.
For acronyms, you may have Word or PowerPoint set to ignore words in upper case. I do not recommend this option, because acronyms are themselves prone to misspelling. Instead, add your acronyms to the Custom dictionary along with technical terms, names, and other frequent problem words. To ensure that acronyms and any all-cap headlines are having their spelling checked, make sure that the Ignore words in UPPERCASE checkbox is not selected.
By taking just these few steps to customize your Word and PowerPoint dictionaries, you may find that you appreciate the spelling checker more as an aid, rather than resenting or ignoring it as an aggravation.
About the Author: Jennie Ruby is a veteran IconLogic trainer and author with titles such as "Editing with Word 2003 and Acrobat 7" and "Editing with MS Word 2007" to her credit. She is a publishing professional with more than 20 years of experience in writing, editing and desktop publishing.