Friday, 18 May 2018

Custom Dictionary Error Workaround

From time to time our network profile can have problems. One of the early signs is that our custom dictionary stops working in Word and Outlook email.  Unfortunately, I have had this problem many times, and the IT team have had to reinstall my profile - often overnight.

Of course, it is usually only when we go to add new words to our custom dictionary that we find out that our profile is starting to malfunction. And how do we find out? The "Add to dictionary" option is greyed out. 

Often we are in the midst of preparing a document or email under deadline when we discover this, but there is a short-term way to prevent this being a problem while your profile is being repaired in the mid-term. To workaround, we can simply make a list of the words which we want to add to our custom dictionary. Then in Word, go to Home | Proofing | Custom Dictionaries | Edit Word List... and add in the words that are correctly spelled for our uses. Add them all in. Click OK, OK, OK to back out.

You may have to save your document and restart Word for this to take effect. If that doesn't work, it is worth a try to shut down and restart completely. A key factor as to whether this works or not will depend on your network permissions. Some networks don't allow access to the custom dictionary.

If you want your custom dictionary updated for Outlook, you need to add the words into a Word document. There appears to be no ability to change the custom dictionary in Outlook using this workaround (though if anyone knows how, I would be happy to update this!).

Give it a try and see.

Good luck!


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