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A fix for a MS Office 2004 spell checker/language issue Apps
The following hint will apply to anyone who wishes to use a default language in Office 2004 for the Mac [e.g. English (UK)], and that language is not the selected default Mac OS language (e.g. Irish settings and Keyboard layout). It took a lot of fustration and a long time to find out why I could not get Word 2004 to spell check newly created documents without manual intervention, and the following is an explanation of and a solution for the problem (if you open existing Word documents created in previous version of Office, the spell checker works flawlessly). Hopefully Micrsoft will be able to provide a better and more appropriate language solution in time.

It appears that under MS Office 2004 for the Mac, Microsoft has changed the way the language settings within Office are set/recognised. Up until this version of Office, the language was set within Office itself. However, as of Office 2004 for the Mac, it gets the default language setting from the International Control Panel in System Preferences. (The latter is key to resolving the problem.)

For example, I live in Ireland and for no reason other than aesthetics, I would prefer to use the Irish keyboard layout with the Irish flag rather than the British keyboard layout and the Union Jack. However, I cannot do that and have forground or background spell checking of any new document created in Word 2004. In fact, if I set my system up using all-Irish settings (even the English version of the Irish settings where available) in the International Control Panel, I will not be able to set English (UK) as the default language in Office 2004, nor have English (UK) spell checking by default in any new document I create. If I use the Irish settings, I can set English (UK) as the default language and use the spell checker, but only on a per-document basis. So far, I have been unable find out how to do it automatically. For obvious, reasons this isn't practical..

If I as an Irish user want to be able to create a new Word 2004 for Mac document, and have it auto spell check using English (UK) as my default language, I have to accept the following settings:
  • In the International panel in System Preferences, select British English (or equivalent) under each tab.
  • Under the Language tab, click on Edit, then scroll down to 'British English' and place a tick in the appropriate box. Click 'OK'.
  • Now move 'British English' to the second location in the main list (I think actually selecting it as a supported language may suffice).
  • Now click on the Formats tab. Under the Region drop-down menu, select 'United Kingdom (EURO).'
  • Select the Input Menu tab. Scroll down to 'British English' and place a tick in the appropriate box.
  • Close System Preferences.
  • Now launch MS Word 2004 for Mac. Select Tools and Language. Select 'English (UK)' in the the box under the heading 'Mark Selected Text as:'.
  • Now click 'Default,' and in the box that appears asking if you want to set English (UK) as the default language, click 'OK'.
This should set the default language in the Normal template to 'English (UK).' You may also need to go into Word -> Preferences, and select 'Spelling and Grammer.' Click on the Dictionaries button. 'English (UK)' should be set as the Default language, and a 'Custom Dictionary' will be ticked. If a user ever needs to back up the custom dictionary, it is located in /Users/username/Library/Preferences/. Click 'OK', and then click 'OK' again.

You must have the 'British' keyboard layout selected before launching Word 2004 and creating a new document. Otherwise, the default language setting in the Normal template is ignored. I can only assume that this will affect other users worldwide who wish to type documents in English (in whatever flavour the person may desire) and have them spell checked automatically.

Maybe someone can suggest or knows of a better solution?
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A fix for a MS Office 2004 spell checker/language issue
Authored by: hamarkus on Feb 07, '05 10:50:35AM

I have no problems changing the default language in Word 2004. No matter what keyboard layout is selected, even after restarts of Word the default language is the same as selected before. (I have not restarted the Finder or logged out and back in.)



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A fix for a MS Office 2004 spell checker/language issue
Authored by: andreas999 on Feb 07, '05 12:54:23PM

Uhm... When I select Tools - Language, change the language and click on the Default button, it works in my Swedish vesion of Word 2004. The Normal template is changed.



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A fix for a MS Office 2004 spell checker/language issue
Authored by: tmhayes on Feb 08, '05 05:27:28AM

Hi, the problem is very reproducible. Let me try and explain it another way. Supposing you are in Sweden and you want to retain your keyboard layout as Swedish (or Irish), but you want to write ALL your documents in English and have them ALL spell checked using the UK English dictionary. Currently you will not be able to do this automatically using Word 2004. You will be able to set the default language to English UK in Word 2004. This will appear to modify the Normal template. Now quit Word and start it again. Now type in UK English (colour rather than color etc.). The automatic background spell checked will not detect the difference and if you go to tools, spelling and grammer, you will just get a message back saying, spell check complete, but the document won't actually be checked. Try it and let me know how you get on. If you have success I owe you a Guinness! Best, Tom.



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A fix for a MS Office 2004 spell checker/language issue
Authored by: tmhayes on Feb 08, '05 05:35:44AM

Hi, the problem is very reproducible. Let me try and explain it another way. Supposing you are in Sweden and you want to retain your keyboard layout as Swedish (or Irish), but you want to write ALL your Word documents in English and have them ALL spell checked using the UK English dictionary. Currently you will not be able to do this automatically using Word 2004. You will be able to set the default language to English UK in Word 2004. This will APPEAR to modify the Normal template. Now quit Word and start it again. Now type in UK English (colour rather than color etc.) and make sure the Irish or swedish keyboard layout is selected. The automatic background spell checker will not detect the difference (auto correct may change color to colour, so it should be DISABLED for this test). Also add some crazy spellings like thdyeted. Now, if you go to tools, spelling and grammer, you will just get a message back saying, spell check complete, but the document won't actually be checked. Try it and let me know how you get on. If you have success I owe you a Guinness! Best, Tom.



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At long last someone with the same problem as me with Office
Authored by: FideRó on Feb 08, '05 01:44:13PM

Hi Tom,
Thanks for posting your tip. I have been having the same problem with computers at work. It is such a relief to see that someone else is having the same problem as me, I have done many Googles & Apple's discussion board searches, etc looking for a similar case (I must look here first the next time). I will give your suggestion a bash tommorrow.
Did you know that the country flag can be hidden by unticking the "Show input menu in menu bar" in the "Input menu" tab in System Preference --> International

Mise le meas,
Fiachra.



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A fix for a MS Office 2004 spell checker/language issue
Authored by: tmhayes on Mar 22, '06 03:56:47AM

It is worth noting (thanks to Mike Foley) that Entourage spell checks without issue, using 'English (UK)', when you type a message and the 'Irish' keyboard layout is selected. So the problem may be confined to the 3 core office application.



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A fix for a MS Office 2004 spell checker/language issue
Authored by: Tom Doherty on Jul 03, '06 05:40:23PM

Hi there,
I've just spent the last 4 hours trying to solve THIS VERY PROBLEM. I thought I was going to crack!! Spent ages on 'word.mvps.org' - no joy. Then I found mac OSX hints and followed your instructions to the letter - SUCCESS AT LAST!!
Thank you so much (Míle buíochas).
Tom (Éire)



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A fix for a MS Office 2004 spell checker/language issue
Authored by: pslambe on Aug 31, '06 11:08:14PM
I have spent hours too, trying to get to the bottom of this issue.
I finally fixed it by setting the language in the Word/Preferences/Spelling and Language/Custom Dictionary to (none). Now I can add words to my custom dictionary.
I won't take credit for this fix though.
Look at this page <http://word.mvps.org/mac/SpellCheck.html>;

---
phillat5dock

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A fix for a MS Office 2004 spell checker/language issue
Authored by: donncha77 on Mar 05, '07 04:31:18AM

I'm using 10.4.8 and Tom's hint doesn't quite match the settings and it doesn't really work for me. In the System Preferences - International - Input Method if you flag "British" then everything works okay except that you then lose the Irish functionality (old problem that). For example you cannot enter using alt-e. Instead you need to enter alt-e -e. If you don't flag "British" in the input method, then the Irish functionality returns but then it no longer defaults to English (UK) in spell checker (you can't seem to have it both ways, despite the option in Word to set the default as English UK). One workaround in Word is to select the whole text and then set the language as English UK but that's what the Normal template should be doing for you.



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