Recently, I had to review some proposals. In reading these, I saw several instances where the wrong word was used. This wasn’t a case of word choice, but a typo that adidn’t flag. People had omitted letters or transposed characters. Think of people using “manger” instead of “manager.” These are tough to catch as we tend to skim over these errors when proofing. In this , I’ll show use your exclude .
For starters, this is a different scenario than when spell check is not working in Word. This is a case where your mistake is a correctly spelled word or brand name. However, we can force or other apps to pause and show us the red squiggly lines under these . I think of this exclusion dictionary as a safety net, even if it costs me a little extra time.
Different Dictionary Files
has three types of dictionary files. The purpose and location differ.
- Main – Large default dictionary for your .
- Custom – When you click Add during a spell check, that word is added to the default custom dictionary. You can also buy industry-specific custom dictionaries. This is a good place to add brand or company names.
- Exclude – Exception file of , which always prompts the . These exclusion terms override the main dictionary.
What to Include in an Exclude Dictionary
I think there are two word groups that go into this file. The first group includesthat you use, and if , could create an embarrassing scenario. These include where a letter has been dropped or you pressed the wrong key that results in an entirely different word or even homonyms. Here are some I spotted:
- pubic (meant public)
- parent (meant patent)
- suing (meant using)
- advice vs advise
- complement vs compliment
The second group ofis situational. For example, a writer that needs to switch between British and American based on the client.
Unlike the main dictionary, theyou place in this exclude dictionary prompt the . The idea is you’ll look at the flagged word, put it in context, and catch a potential mistake. The file does not update with new software versions.
How to Find the Word Exclude Dictionary
- Open Windows by pressing your Windows key + E.
- Find your Microsoft UProof folder. In my case, it’s located at C:\Users\Anne\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\UProof\
- You should see a set of files with a .lex file extension.
- Look at the 2 uppercase letters following ExcludeDictionary. These are language codes such as EN, ES, FR, etc. The numeric codes represent a geographic region. For example, 0409 is a hexadecimal identifier for the United States. You can also consult a Windows Locale Codes table.
⚠ If you don’t see any files, you may have to turn on hidden folders in File Explorer.
Editing the Exclude Dictionary File
You’re now ready to addto the exclusion dictionary. There are a few rules.
- You can’t have spaces. No phrases are allowed.
- You can’t have a word that exceeds 64 letters.
- You need to edit the file using a free editor from Microsoft called VS Code. You can also use Notepad or WordPad. . I’ve used the
- Open your .lex file for your language in a text editor. For example, I’ve selected ExcludeDictionaryEN0409.lex since I’m using English in the United States.
- Add one word per line. Each line should be a word you want to add a squiggly line underneath to catch your attention.
In the list above, you can see where I’ve usedthat have different spellings. This is because, in some , I need to use US , but not others. I’m telling to flag them by adding these , so I am prompted to think about the context.
- Save the file.
- Start and do a test paragraph with your exclusion .
Before I edited the exclusion dictionary, I would just have the red squiggly line under one version of the word.
You can see above thatflagged the British version, but left the American version alone. However, after adding the variations to my exclusion list, I see the desired red squiggly lines.
One item I encountered was timing. This exclusion dictionary works going forward on new content. However, it would not work on existing. Also, this feature is available to other Microsoft Office apps.