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How to Perform a Spell Check in Excel

Working with spell checks in Excel tends to be a bit of a different process to other tools such as Microsoft Word, largely due to the fact that you aren’t really told when something is wrong. In word you see the little red squiggly line underneath an incorrectly spelled word, but in Excel you don’t really get that.

On top of that, it is not really something that we inherintly think of as much when working with spreadsheets. Sometimes you may not really need to worry about it if you are copying in data from elsewhere, but if you are making nice fancy reports with headers and descriptions and so on, it is pretty important to get that spelling right as a typo can have a negative impact on how it is recieved by others.

In this simple guide, we are going to run through how to perform a Spell Check in Excel.

We will cover:

  • How to open the Spell Check options
  • The various choices we can make
  • Performing a Spell Check across multiple Excel sheets

Let’s get started with some example mis-spellings.

For the purposes of this guide we are going to have 5 cells each with an incorrect spelling of a word:

Excel Spelling

Helo has been included twice for reasons we will see as we go through the various options. Let’s move on to the Spell Check dialog box.

How to Open the Spell Check options

The Spell Check settings can be found by selecting Review under the top ribbon, and along the left most side of the window under Spelling:

Spelling in Excel

When you select the Spelling option you may be presented with a pop up box asking if you want to continue at the beginning of the sheet. If this appears press Yes. This tends to happen if you dont have the very first cell selected, or something to to the top left, due to the way excel scans in order.

From here the Excel Spell Check box appears and we will be presented with the first incorrectly spelled word – Helo.

Spell Check in Excel

Now we are presented with a series of options which we will run through before we go any further.

The Excel Spell Check options

As we can see above, we have 6 different options to choose from when performing a Spell Check in Excel. Each of these, and its resulting output are below:

Ignore Once: This keeps the typo as is, but if Excel comes across it again we will be notified and asked what to do

Ignore All: This will ignore the typo, and continue to ignore if we come across it again as we would in this example with Helo.

Add to Dictionary: This adds the assumed incorrectly spelled word to the Excel dictionary, so that it will never see it as a typo again.

Change: This changes the word to whatever selected suggestion has been chosen under the Selections box. In our example above it would change Helo to Hello.

Change All: Same as change, but applies it to all instances of the typo so we dont have to keep pressing change over and over if it is a large document

AutoCorrect: This applies a function where if you were to make the typo again in Excel, it will simply automatically correct it to the chosen word. Quite handy for common words and typos.

Let’s look now at what would happen if we simply press Change on the first example:

Excel Spell Check

As we can see, Helo has become Hello. Since we pressed Change and not Change All, it has not updated the second instance of this typo.

This also then automatically takes us down to the next cell with a typo, which we can see as Tommorow, with the suggestion of Tomorrow.

Let’s say though that back when we were looking at Helo, we decided that we wanted to ignore not only this, but any future instances of the typo. Here we would have selected Ignore All. What this then means is once we get passed the Enginer typo on row 6, Excel skips the next typo:

Finished Spell Check in Excel

This pretty much sums up how to use the Spell Check in Excel. But what if we were working with a really large document over multiple sheets?

Performing a Spell Check in Excel Across Multiple Sheets

As you are running Spell Checks, you may notice that once you get past the final typo on a sheet, Excel stops scanning. This is because it limits the check to the currently active sheet.

To save time, and not have to repeat rules such as Change All or Ignore All, you can simply select multiple sheets at once by pressing CTRL and selecting additional sheets:

Spell Check multiple Sheets in Excel

In the above example the Spell Check function will now scan right across Sheets 1, 3, and 4!

That is just about all there is to this guide. The Spell Check function is a pretty simple one, but something that tends not to be used a whole lot in Excel. When used though it can come in super handy, especially when working with data quality and control as a misspelling of a word in a cell could easily break a formula or produce an incorrect total in VLOOKUPs or IF formulas when scanning those cells.

This sums up our guide on how to perform a Spell Check in Excel. For more handy guides on working with Excel, be sure to check out our Excel Tips page.