Use a screen reader to check spelling in a document in Word 2016

Word 2016 automatically checks for potential spelling and grammatical errors as you type. It marks spelling errors with a red squiggly line and grammar errors with a blue squiggly line, but you can also check errors with the spelling checker tool.

If you prefer, you can turn off automatic checking and then check your document after it’s completed. Checking all the spelling and grammar in your document at the same time is useful when you want to quickly proof your text. You can check for possible mistakes and then decide if you agree with the spelling and grammar checker.

Note: The procedures in this topic are documented using Narrator and JAWS. For information about how to work with a specific screen reader, contact your assistive technology (AT) manufacturer.

Note: This topic assumes that JAWS users have turned off the Virtual Ribbon Menu feature.

In this topic

Check the spelling and grammar of a document

  1. Open the document you want to check for spelling or grammar mistakes, and then press F7. You can also use a ribbon command by pressing Alt+R to open the Review tab, and then pressing S for Spelling and Grammar.

    Tip: To check the spelling and grammar in just a sentence or paragraph of your document, select the text you want to check and then press F7.

  2. When you hear “Proofing pane” and the first misspelled word and suggested spellings, or the first possible grammatical error and suggested revisions, use the Tab key to move to the suggestions, definition of a word, or grammar explanation. Listening to these will help you decide how to respond to the possible error.

    • If there is more than one suggested spelling, use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys until you hear the spelling you want to use.

    • If there is a spelling error, Word may include a definition of the word. To hear the definition, press the Tab key to go to the Text to speech button and press Spacebar.

    • If there is a grammar error, Word may include an explanation of the grammatical rule. If it does, you hear “Reason text is virtualized” and then the explanation. To close the Reason text is virtualized window and return to the Proofing pane, press Esc.

    • Also, if there is a grammar error, Word may offer alternative words or phrases. To hear them, press the Tab key to go to the Text to speech button or buttons and then press Spacebar.

  3. To respond to a mistake Word identifies, press the Tab key to go to the command you want, for example, Ignore, Ignore All, Change, or Change All. When you hear the command you want, press Enter or the keyboard shortcut you hear. For more information about keyboard shortcuts to use, see Keyboard shortcuts for the proofing pane next in this topic.

  4. After you correct, ignore, or skip an error, Word moves to the next error. Repeat the review process for each error.

  5. When Word finishes reviewing the document, you hear “Microsoft Word dialog, OK button.” To return to your document, press Spacebar. If you checked only selected text, select the Yes button in the dialog box.

Keyboard shortcuts for the Proofing pane

The following table summarizes the keyboard shortcuts for the Proofing pane.

To do this

Press

Ignore Once Ignore this word once, but check it again.

Spacebar+I

Ignore All Ignore this word throughout the document.

Spacebar+A

Add to Dictionary Include this word in the program's dictionary.

Spacebar+G

Change Use the suggested word in the Suggestions pane.

Spacebar+C

Change All Use the suggested word to change all instances of this word.

Spacebar+L

Undo Undo the change. Repeat for previous corrections.

Ctrl+Z

Options The Options dialog box appears. Select how the program corrects spelling and grammar for all documents.

ALT+F, T, and then use the Down Arrow key to move to the Proofing pane

Recheck words and grammar that you previously chose to ignore

  1. In the Word document you want to check, press Alt+F to open the p menu, and then press T for Options. Word places the focus in the Categories list box of the Word Options dialog box

  2. To open the Proofing tab, press P, and then press the Tab key. The Proofing dialog box opens with the focus on the autocorrect Options button.

  3. To open the Microsoft Word dialog box, press Alt+K. When you are asked to confirm, press Enter for Yes. If you don’t want to recheck the document, use the Right Arrow key to move to No and press Enter.

Keyboard shortcuts related to checking grammar and spelling

The following table provides a summary of keyboard shortcuts that can help you to check grammar and spelling in your Word documents.

To do this

Press

Open the Word Options dialog box

Alt+F, T

Open the Proofing tab

P, and then press the Tab key

Open the Autocorrect dialog box

Alt+A

Recheck the spelling and grammar

Alt+K

Open the Exceptions for dialog box

Alt+X

Select or clear the Check spelling as you type check box

Alt+P

Move to the Check grammar as you type check box

Alt+M, Alt+M

Select or clear the Hide spelling errors in this document only check box

Alt+S

Select or clear the Hide grammar errors in this document only check box

Alt+D

Turn on or off automatic checking for spelling and grammar

You can decide whether to use automatic checking of spelling and grammar in all documents or specific documents.

  1. In an open Word document, press Alt+F, T. Word places the focus in the Categories list box of the Word Options dialog box.

  2. To open the Proofing tab, press P, and then press the Tab key. The Proofing dialog box opens with the focus on the Autocorrect Options button.

  3. To clear or select the Check spelling as you type check box, press Alt+P.

  4. To move to the Mark grammar errors as you type check box, press Alt+M, and then press Alt+M again. To clear or select the check box, press Spacebar.

  5. To close the Word Options dialog box and return to your document, press the Tab key to go to the OK button and then press Enter.

You can specify how you want Word to autocorrect as you type. In the Word Options dialog, on the Proofing tab, press Alt+A. In the Autocorrect dialog box, you can choose among options such as replacing text as you type, correcting accidental caps, and correcting quote marks.

More information

Office Accessibility Center

Get help for using a screen reader with Word 2016

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows

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