Force MS Word Spellchecker to Accept ‘Non-US Spellings’

There are two problems with the spellchecker in Microsoft Word. One is that it struggles to accept words which are not in its dictionary, even when it appears you’ve asked it to accept this word. The second is that, in some documents, you may need to use several languages. For example, if you need to include a quote in French or use different UK or Australian English.

How do you Force Word Spell Checker to Accept Non-US Spellings?

Before we explain how to fix this, let’s look at WHY this happens. Why does Word use one language setting over another There are a few reasons:
  • – The file, i.e. where fonts, formats, styles etc are controlled, affect the language settings. When you change this file, all documents that use are affected.
  • Sections – Word uses ‘sections’ to assemble a document. It therefore applies the language setting for each ‘section’ as it processes the document. If you have different sections and different languages, then be careful when running the spellchecker. It applies each respective language setting per section. To see the sections, click the backward P in the menu bar.
  • Deleting Sections – If, for example, you do Insert, Page Break and add a new page; you’d see the following. Next, if you make the first page US English and the second UK English, you’re still fine. Microsoft Word will use two different spellcheckers. BUT, if you delete the page break, you lose the first setting. The second, in this case UK English becomes the default setting
  • Detect Language Automatically – Turn on this setting if you use more one language in a document, as Microsoft Word can automatically detect each language as you type it. However, it’s not foolproof. Check that Microsoft Word doesn’t ‘help’ you and automatically correct a word.
  • Changed Language Settings – You may have accidentally changed you document language settings when you cut and pasted from another document with a different language setting.
To fix this:
  • Use Ctrl + A to select the entire document.
  • Click the Language option on the lower toolbar.
  • Select the language you want, for example, UK English.
  • Click OK.
  • Click Default IF you want to make it the default language from now on.


To force the spell checker in Word to accept non-US spellings, change the language setting to the language of your choice or… if possible, add that word to your US dictionary. Just make sure that you don’t accidentally ‘fix’ these foreign words when running the spellchecker.