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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Proofreading Tip: Words in CAPS

Is it possible to create a document that's 100 percent accurate? Do you rely on Spell Check to help you? Well, you know Word doesn't find all misspelled words because some typos are words. Plus, Word has default settings that intentionally ignore certain words. So, if you rely on Spell Check, you may want to change those default settings.

Do you know words in uppercase are ignored? Do you think it's because so many acronyms and initialisms such as LOL and OMG are used? If you capitalize the heading, EXPERIENCE, on your resume and misspell it, Word doesn't flag it as misspelled. I think it's more difficult to find errors in words that are in all caps.

"Words" that have numbers in them such as part numbers (A3457) are ignored, too. If you mistakenly type 1uantity instead of quantity, Word doesn't identify it as a mistake.

Do you need to change these settings? It depends. Do you write words in capitals? Do you use part numbers or "words" with numbers in your documents?

Here's how to change the default settings in Word 2007:
  • Click the Office button.
  • Click the Word Options button.
  • Click Proofing link (left side of the screen).
  • Remove the check from Ignore words in UPPERCASE and/or
  • Remove the check from Ignore words that contain numbers.
  • Click OK.
For Word 2003, select Tools | Options | Spelling & Grammar tab; remove the checks from Ignore words in UPPERCASE and/or Ignore words with numbers. Click OK.

When you change these default settings (UPPERCASE and words with numbers) in Word 2007, they'll change in Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access, too.

If you change the setting to no longer ignore uppercase words, you may want to add frequently used acronyms to your electronic dictionary. That way, you won't be bombarded with red zigzagged lines.

Judy Beaver, The Office Pro
Founder of National Proofreading Day