How To Compile/Create or Modify Your Own Dictionary in Word

When you are writing or editing word documents, you may see flagging words only because they are not in MS-Word’s dictionary. You can compile, create and modify your own customized dictionaries in Microsoft Word and run spell checks using them. By this you can insert new words into the dictionary and can remove flags. This method is best useful for people who use a lot of technical terms in their documents.

In order to create own dictionary in word and run spell checks using those customized dictionaries, Follow these steps..

  • Add words to the Custom dictionary

When you run a spell check in Word, you’ll find that several words that aren’t incorrect are highlighted in red or green. This is because these words are not included in Word’s dictionary. In order to avoid these words from being highlighted, simply add them to Word’s Custom dictionary. For instance, in this document, the names of chemicals turn up in the “Not in Dictionary” section.

  1. Click on "Tools > Spelling and Grammar" or press F7 to run the spell check.
  2. When that particular word appears in the "Spelling and Grammar" dialog box, click on the "Add to dictionary" option.

Modify the Custom dictionary

Instead of adding words to the Custom dictionary one at a time, follow these steps to customize the existing dictionary.

  1. Select "Tools > Options".
  2. Click on the "Spelling and Grammar" tab
  3. Under "Spelling", click on the "Custom Dictionaries" button.
  4. Select "Custom.dictionaries" and click on "Modify".
  5. In the "Word" text field, enter the word you want to add, for example, "defragment".
  6. Click on "Add" and the word you just added will be in the list under "Dictionary"
  7. Click "OK"  twice.
  8. Under the "Spelling" section in the "Options" dialog box, insert a check mark near the option "Check spelling as you type"
  9. Click "OK" to apply the new settings.

custom dictionary in word

The words that you inserted into the Custom dictionary will not be flagged by Word the next time you run the spell check.

  • Create a new Dictionary

If you’re working on a document related to a specific subject, such as biology or economics, which has its own terms that may not be in Word’s dictionary, it can be tedious to add each term to the dictionary. For this purpose, Word has an option whereby you can create your own dictionary and carry out a spell check using it. In the following steps, we will show you how to create and activate a medical dictionary.

  1. Open a new Notepad file.
  2. Type in words related to medicine. Each word should appear on a separate line
  3. Check the list to see that there are no extra spaces before or after the terms.
  4. Name the file “Medical dictionary” and save it as a plain text file (.txt)
  5. Copy it to the folder C:\Documents and Settings\(Username)\Application Data\Microsoft\Proof.

Note: The folder will be invisible by default and you can make it visible by clicking on Folder Properties > View > Show hidden files, folders and drives > OK.

Activate the dictionary

The  next  time  you  work  on  a medical  document,  simply  activate  the  dictionary  so  that  words
specific to the subject don’t get flagged when you run the spell check.

  1. Open the medical document that you are working on.
  2. Select "Tools > Options"
  3. Click on the "Spelling and Grammar" tab
  4. Click on the "Custom Dictionaries" button
  5. The new dictionary will appear in the Dictionary list.
  6. Insert a checkmark next to "Medical dictionary".
  7. Click  "OK".
  8. Ensure that the option "Check spelling as you type" is selected under the Spelling section.
  9. To recheck the document using the new dictionary, click on the "Recheck Document" section under "Proofing Tools".
  10. Click  "OK"

Now only those words that are not listed in the Custom and Medical dictionaries will be flagged by Word.

activate custom dictionary

Update the new dictionary

You can keep on adding or deleting terms from your medical dictionary as and when you come across a new term. Follow these steps to modify any of the dictionaries:

  1. Select "Tools > Options".
  2. Click on the "Spelling and Grammar" tab.
  3. Click on "Custom dictionaries".
  4. Select "Medical dictionary" and click on "Modify".
  5. In the dialog box that opens, enter a new term and click on "Add".
  6. Click  "OK".


  • Make an Exclusion list

Word allows you to create and modify a new dictionary; however, you cannot make changes to Word’s inbuilt dictionary, that is, the LEX files. In case you don’t want Word to automatically correct a particular word or you want it to simply fag a word to see if the correct word is used in each context, you can create an exclusion list containing a list of words that you don’t want Word to fag when you run a spell check. For example, you might type "abut" instead of "about", but Word will not correct it since "abut" is also in the dictionary.

  1. In a new Wordpad or Notepad file, enter the words that you want Word to flag when you run the spell check.
  2. Ensure that each word is typed on a separate line with no spaces before of after the word.
  3. Give the file an appropriate name and the extension ".EXC", the extension used for exclusion files.
  4. Save the list as a plain text file (.txt).
  5. To save the file in the location where Word can access it, select "Tools > Options".
  6. Click on the "Spelling & Grammar" tab
  7. Select "Custom dictionaries"
  8. Click on "New" to add the dictionary to that particular folder.
  9. Browse and select the exclusion list that you recently created.

You don’t necessarily have to insert a checkmark near the exclusion list file, it only has to be saved in the appropriate folder for Word to utilize it.

Copy the exclusion list to the dictionary folder

Instead of adding the exclusion list to the list of custom dictionaries using the “Custom dictionaries” button, follow these simple steps to insert the exclusion list in its right place.

  1. Once you’ve created the exclusion list file, copy it.
  2. Go to the Proof folder: C:\Documents and Settings\(Username)\Application Data\Microsoft\Proof
  3. Paste your exclusion list file in this location.

The changes you’ve made to Word will only take place the next time you open Word, so close and reopen your document.

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November 17, 2009 by: Prasanth Chandra


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