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Proofing Your Work

It’s a good idea to check your work before letting anyone else see it. Word 2011 has tools you can use to check your spelling and grammar, find synonyms when you’re stuck for a word, and look up definitions.

Checking spelling and grammar

You can avoid common errors and typos by performing a spelling and grammar check on each document. Use the Thesaurus and Dictionary tools to enliven your writing and ensure that you’re using words correctly.

To check spelling and grammar:

  1. Choose Tools > Spelling and Grammar or press Option-Command-L.

    The Spelling and Grammar dialog box appears circle-a.jpg. The spelling checker flags possible misspellings, and the grammar checker identifies questionable grammar. As it examines the document, Word stops at each questionable word or phrase.

  2. For each questionable instance, do one of the following:
    • To accept a selected entry in the Suggestions list, click Change. To make the same correction for all such errors in the document, click Change All.
    • To leave the word or phrase as is and continue the spelling check, click Ignore. To ignore all instances of the word or phrase found in the current document, click Ignore All.
    • To add the current spelling of a flagged word to your user dictionary and also accept the spelling as correct, click Add. (Adding a word to the user dictionary prevents Word from flagging it as a misspelling in other documents.)
    • If this is a error you commonly make, select the correct word in the Suggestions list and click AutoCorrect. The misspelled word and its replacement are added to the AutoCorrect list.
    • Manually edit the text in the upper box. Click Change to accept your edits or Undo Edit to restore the original text.

      When a possible grammatical error is found, the dialog box and its options change circle-b.jpg.

  3. For each flagged error, do one of the following:
    • To ignore the error for this or all instances in the document, click Ignore or Ignore All, respectively.
    • To accept a selected correction in the Suggestions box, click Change.
    • To examine the next identified error (without making a judgment on the current problem), click Next Sentence.
    • Manually edit the text in the upper box. Click Change to accept the edits.

    An alert box appears when the spelling and grammar check is complete.

  4. Click OK to dismiss the alert box.

To replace a word with a synonym:

Do one of the following:

  • Select the word or phrase you want to replace. Choose Tools > Thesaurus. The Reference Tools tab of the Toolbox appears, showing information for the selected word or phrase circle-e.jpg. Select the closest meaning from the Meanings list, select a synonym from the Synonyms list, and click Insert.
  • Display the Reference Tools tab of the Toolbox gray-circle-e.jpg. (If the Toolbox isn’t open, click the Toolbox icon on the Standard toolbar or choose View > Reference Tools.) In the Thesaurus section, type or paste a word/phrase into the search box, and press Return. Select a meaning, select a synonym, and click Insert.
  • Right-click the selected word or phrase, and choose a replacement from the Synonyms submenu.

To look up a word’s definition:

Do one of the following:

Calculating a word count

Sometimes you may need to know a document’s exact word count or similar statistics. Word count is important when writing to a particular length, as is sometimes the case with magazine articles and homework assignments.

To calculate the word count:

  1. Do one of the following:
    • To calculate statistics for a portion of the document, begin by selecting that part of the document.
    • To calculate statistics for an entire document, ensure that nothing is selected.
  2. Choose Tools > Word Count.

    The Word Count dialog box appears circle-g.jpg. It contains information about your document, including the page count and the number of words, lines, and paragraphs in your document

  3. Click OK to dismiss the dialog box.
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