Microsoft Word 2013 - I Accidentally Added a Misspelled Word into the Spell-check dictionary.

brothertruffle880 used Ask the Experts™
UGGGGHHHH!  I accidentally added an incorrectly-spelled word to my MS word dictionary.
How can I delete the word?
Is it in a file I can edit and browse?  I have a feeling I've made this mistake more than once.
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1. Click the Word Options button on the File tab’s menu. The Word Options window shows up.
2. From the left side of the window, choose Proofing. Click the button labeled Custom Dictionaries. The Custom Dictionaries dialog box appears.
3. Select the CUSTOM.DIC dictionary file. It’s probably the only item in the list.
4. Click the button labeled Edit Word List. You see a scrolling list of words you’ve added to the custom dictionary.
5. Find and select the word you want to remove from the dictionary. You can select the word by clicking it once.
6. Click the Delete button. The word disappears from your custom dictionary.
7. Repeat Steps 6 and 7 if you want to remove more words. You can remove as many words as you want.
8. Click the OK button when you're done editing the dictionary. The Custom Dictionaries dialog box closes.
NorieAnalyst Assistant

Goto File>Options>Proofing>Custom Dictionaries...

Select RoamingCustom.dic and then Edit Word List...

Find and select the word you want to delete and click Delete.
Other answers identify how you can fix mistakes in a Word spelling dictionary, and are useful to reverse occasional inadvertent clicks on “Add to dictionary” option.

However, as an alternative to editing a dictionary from the Word dialog (Options >  Proofing > Custom Dictionaries...) you can use a text editor to do the editing directly. This can be convenient if your dictionary has many terms, or if you want to merge content from a different source.

First, find where the dictionaries are saved on your computer: use the dialog above to bring up the Dictionary list, and select the dictionary you want to edit. It's file path will be displayed, so you can go to that folder to open the dictionary. Custom Dictionaries dialog from Options > Proofing
You may find that the default dictionary for recent versions of Word is named RoamingCustom.dic, but when you click on it, no file path is shown! You can use a file finder tool to search for the file name, but to save some time, start looking from the %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Office directory. Your setup may differ, but my default dictionary for Word 365 (16.0) is saved here: %AppData%\Microsoft\Office\16.0\9c5a8921\Proofing\RoamingCustom.dic

When you edit the dictionary in a text editor, note that each entry is on a separate line. You can make changes and delete words, and even merge in words from another dictionary (useful for ensuring consistency with a corporate style standard for example). Although it isn't clear if it matters, I recommend sorting the dictionary alphabetically before you re-save it. The newly-saved dictionary will take effect when you next start Word.

Note that the path for the CUSTOM.DIC dictionary (shown in the screen shot above) may include other dictionary-related files with ".lex" extensions. For example, the "ExcludeDictionaryEN1009.lex" in my path is an exclusion dictionary for Canadian English ("EN1009" is the Canadian variant of English; US English is "EN0409"). Any word included in an exclusion dictionary will be marked as a spelling mistake even though it is part of the built-in dictionary for that language.

Why might it be useful to have an exclusion dictionary? Consider a situation where a Canadian company doing a lot of work in the USA has style guidelines specifying that "centre" should be spelled as "center". If "center" was just added to the custom dictionary, then both spellings would be accepted. On the other hand, if "center" was instead added to the ExcludeDictionaryEN1009.lex file, Word would then mark any instances of "centre" as a spelling mistake — even though it is correct in Canadian English. This would then alert the user to any instances of the potential unwanted spelling to conform to the corporate guidelines — but still allow them to override an occasional valid exception when it is used in a proper name (such as the Rogers Centre).

For more detail about exclusion dictionaries, see refer to this Microsoft support page.


Thanks for all the amazing help!
Joe WinogradDeveloper
Fellow 2017
Most Valuable Expert 2018

For more detail about exclusion dictionaries, see refer to this Microsoft support page.
In that same vein, you may find this five-minute EE video Micro Tutorial to be helpful:
How to tell Microsoft Office that a word is NOT spelled correctly

Regards, Joe

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