Tag Archives: preferences

The Many Englishes of MS Word

Editors know that English spelling preferences differ from the Americas to Europe, and even differ within the Americas. MS Word is ready to help, with at least three options for English spellcheck dictionaries in the Language settings.

Setting the language preference is easy: on the Review ribbon, click the Language icon, then press E to skip to the English section of the list. Select the preferred English for the document, then click Ok. You can even tell word to set that as the Default by pressing that button before you press Ok.

In Word for Windows, the 18 English options include (beyond those shown in the images above) Jamaica, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, and Zimbabwe.

Troubleshooting

  • Select the entire document (cmd + A, or ctrl + A on Windows) before entering the settings in order to set the language for the whole document rather than just the paragraph in which the cursor is currently placed.
  • If the language choice won’t “stick”, check the Style settings. Not only can a style specify aspects of the font, it can also set the language. Modify the style to match your preference. Also be sure that the style is set to “check spelling and grammar” rather than to “do not check.”
  • Language settings are document specific. The spellcheck preference needs to be set for each document.
  • Some sections of text may be set (either manually or via Styles) to not check the spelling and grammar there. This is useful when we want Word to skip lengthy quotes or passages in another language but problematic when set by mistake. Find that option either in the Style settings or when selecting the language for that particular paragraph.
The dash in the “do not check” box means that some text has been set to not be spellchecked.
book cover cropped to banner size
Find out more about making the most of “Editor” (formerly Spellcheck) starting on p. 27 of the book.

cover of editing in word 2016 2nd edition

Track Changes Inline or in Balloons

The book and its tutorial videos go into options for seeing Tracked Changes in quite a bit of detail, so here we’ll just compare seeing changes in balloons vs seeing them inline. We’re also sticking with the defaults for colour, underlining, etc. though it’s almost all customizable. Except for specifying which reviewer is shown in which colour; that’s impossible.

decorative
We are talking about two types of settings in the Tracking area. Here they say Markup Options, and All Markup, but the wording changes to show what you’ve selected.

From the All Markup options in the Tracking area of the Review ribbon you can choose:

  • Simple
  • All Markup
  • No Markup
  • Original

The Simple option just puts a line in the margin of the document (on screen only!) indicating that a change was made somewhere on that line; no changes are marked up on screen. No Markup shows the final edited version; again, no changes are marked up on screen. The other two options are obvious.

These options only change what is displayed. The changes are still intact, tracked if you told Word to track them.

The changes we’ll look at now are found under Markup Options in the same area of the Review ribbon. Scroll down to Balloons in those options and you’ll find the two biggest choices: whether changes are shown inline or in balloons.

screen cap showing deletion and insertion tracked changes
These Tracked Changes are shown inline.
The deletion in this Tracked Change is shown in a balloon, but the insertion is still shown inline — out of necessity, I guess. Note that preferences in this example were set to show balloons on the left instead of the (default) right.

It also matters whether you’re using Draft view or Page Layout — those options at the bottom right border of the Word window or on the left edge of the View ribbon. Draft view cannot display changes in balloons and usually launches the Reviewing pane to show Comments and the list of changes. Page Layout view was used to create the image examples here.

In the Reviewing pane, all changes are listed, regardless of whether changes in the document are currently displayed inline or in balloons.

No Markup, Original, and Simple Markup make it look like no changes are being tracked, as changes are hidden in those views. Switch views to see the changes that have been made.

Troubleshooting

Preferences do not travel with the file. The way that Tracked Changes are displayed must be set on each user’s computer. That means that others on your team won’t see what you’re seeing unless you have made your settings identical.

Even if you have kept the default preference, others will not see exactly what you see. When each user’s changes are shown in a different colour (the default option), those colour selections change each time you open the file. Thanks, Microsoft.

book cover cropped to banner size
Find out more about using Track Changes starting on pp. 8–27 of the book.


Got a gnarly Word problem? Submit your problem and we’ll try to answer it in the new Q&A thread.


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Make Comments Appear On the Left in Word

Comments posted in a Word document appear on the right, by default, in a region called the Markup Area. But you can have it your way: move those comment balloons to the left, if you want!

On a Mac, open the Track Changes options from Word’s Preferences. At the bottom, in the Balloons area, click the drop-down list of Margins and select your preference.

Setting the side for the Markup Area on a Mac.

In a Windows environment, on the Review ribbon, click the little triangle in the corner of the Track Changes area to open the settings. At the bottom in the Balloons area, select your preference for Margins then click OK.

Click the tiny arrow to expand the Track Changes Options on a Windows computer, then click Advanced Options…
In the bottom Balloons area, select Margin Right or Left.

These Settings are User Specific

Like the colour and underline settings for tracked changes, these preferences are set for for each computer separately. Open the file on another computer and the display will reflect preferences set on that other computer.


book cover cropped to banner size
Find out more about using Track Changes starting on pp. 8–26 of the book.


Got a gnarly Word problem? Submit your problem and we’ll try to answer it in the new Q&A thread.


Never miss a Word-Wrangling Wednesday tip. Sign up here to get them by email.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

By practicing one tip each week, you can invest 13 hours this year into professional development. To search the blog, use the orange bar right above this.


© This blog and all materials in it are copyright Adrienne Montgomerie on the date of publication. All rights reserved. No portion may be stored or distributed without express written permission. Asking is easy!

Stop the Annoying Formatting Pop-Up When Pasting in Word

This formatting pop-up can be handy in Word, but mostly it’s just annoying when all you want to do is paste.

That tiny clipboard icon that pops up whenever you paste something into a Word file can get pretty annoying. It obscures the text and gets clicked inadvertently. It’s usually just technology getting in the way.

Here is how to turn it off in Word 365/2019. Windows instructions follow the Mac instructions. The process hasn’t changed much since 2003.

Continue reading Stop the Annoying Formatting Pop-Up When Pasting in Word

A Guide to Word’s Squiggles

Into every Word file, a few squiggles must fall.

tools spelling out the word tool

In the 2019 release that is a snapshot of Word 365, the grammar and spelling tools are grouped together in a feature Microsoft has called the Editor. On screen, Word flags errors by underlining them. The underlining it uses mean the following:

  • red squiggle = misspelled
  • blue dots = formatting error
  • blue double straight = word choice or grammar error

The flagging of homonyms has improved, as you can see in the left-hand figure, but Word still misses a lot of grammar errors and some of the formatting errors — even when it has flagged those exact errors elsewhere. The errors shown in the screen grabs below are particularly bad, but Word even misses errors they used as illustrations in Word’s own help files.

Turning On Grammar & Spelling Display

  • On a Mac, go to Word > Preferences > Spelling & Grammar.
  • Windows users, click Options on the File menu, then select Proofing. In the area headed “When correcting spelling and grammar in Word,” click the Settings… button.
Windows users look in the Proofing area of Options from the File ribbon.

Turning Off Grammar & Spelling Display

You can turn off grammar checking, and you can deselect a lot of the checks, but even if you turn off the display of spelling errors, homonyms will still be flagged. (Right figure, top.)

While many editors turn off the grammar checker because Word’s advice is misguided more often than not, the blue “wrong word” checker cannot be turned off.

To get rid of the flags, select “Check Document” or “Recheck Document” in the spelling & grammar settings after deselecting “Mark grammar errors as you type” and “Check grammar with spelling.”

book cover cropped to banner size
Find out more about making the most of “Editor” (formerly Spellcheck) starting on p. 27 of the book.

cover of editing in word 2016 2nd edition