I recently saw a question on the #phdchat channel that made me dig a bit deeper into the MS Word Spelling & Grammar checker options.
— Simon Knight (@sjgknight) November 29, 2015
It turns out there are a bunch of options hidden away, of course some of these need ‘taming’, or turning off, but many are useful, and knowing where they are/how to use them is useful. I’ve also seen a number of grammar and style checkers, often as word addons, recently and am interested that many share most functionality with the MS Word features, with presentational tweaks (more on this soon).
To find these features in Word, go to the main file menu and click ‘options’, then:
- Select proofing:
- Go to spelling and grammar options:
- Select ‘grammar and style’ and click settings for a long list of options:
There are lots of options to play with here (plus, adding words to the dictionary, etc. to ensure you’re not getting lots of distracting false negatives is probably sensible). I suspect lots of people ignore most of the inbuilt checking, so thinking about alternative modes of presentation would be interesting. One way to do that is through addins (see e.g.s) or macros (see below). Knowing when to make use of which features (and when and how to turn off distracting features) is key here.
One of the inbuilt functions in MS Word is spotting long sentences (>60 words). However, it might also be useful to identify a lower threshold, or to identify particularly short sentences. For that purpose (and various others), you can also write macros for Word.
Sub Mark_Long() Dim iMyCount As Integer Dim iWords As Integer If Not ActiveDocument.Saved Then ActiveDocument.Save End If 'Reset counter iMyCount = 0 'Set number of words iWords = 35 ' <==== change as required For Each MySent In ActiveDocument.Sentences If MySent.Words.Count > iWords Then ' <==== play with to look at sentences of varying length MySent.Font.Color = wdColorRed iMyCount = iMyCount + 1 End If Next MsgBox iMyCount & " sentences longer than " & _ iWords & " words." End Sub
This can be added to Word by:
- Going to the ‘view’ tab and selected ‘macros’ on the right (make sure to click on it, and not the down arrow to view more options)
- Typing a new macro name (e.g. ‘LongSen’, or ‘test’ here), and clicking ‘create’
- Pasting the code into the space between the ‘sub LongSen ()’ and ‘End Sub’
- You can ‘run’ the code from the macro list, or you can add it as a button to one of your menus by:
- Going into file options, and clicking either ‘Customize Ribbon’ or ‘Quick Access Toolbar’
- Selecting ‘Macros’ in the drop down menu to choose commands, and adding the macro you’ve selected to the menu of your choice