Understanding Custom Dictionaries

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 10, 2013)

1

Google Docs includes a built-in spellchecker that allows you to give your documents the once-over to hopefully catch and correct any lapses in spelling perfection that you normally enjoy. (You do spell everything right the first time, don't you?) :>)

Whenever the spellchecker locates a word it thinks is incorrectly spelled, you have the option to add that word to your custom dictionary. (When the misspelled word is highlighted, just click the down-arrow next to the Ignore option. There you'll find the option to add the word to the custom dictionary.)

There is a problem with the custom dictionary, though: You can't edit it. This means that once a word is added to the custom dictionary, it is there permanently. Which, of course, means that if you add a misspelled word, then all matching misspellings are not flagged in any future spellchecks. Bummer!

Why Google hasn't made it possible to edit the custom dictionary yet is a mystery; people have been asking for this capability for years. There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon, however. Google announced in early 2013 that their browser, Chrome, had the capability to edit its custom dictionary. As of this writing, though, the editing capability has not migrated to Docs. The hope is that such a migration will occur in the near future.

For Docs users familiar with a Microsoft Word environment, there is another huge difference between Docs custom dictionaries and those in Word: You can only have one. There is no capability in Docs to create, say, one custom dictionary for medical terms and another for legal terms. Instead, there is only a single custom dictionary, and it is unclear exactly where that dictionary is stored. Testing is inconclusive as to whether the dictionary is stored with your Google account, with the document, or on your local device.

Hopefully there will be updates in the future to the capabilities of the custom dictionaries.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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Comments

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What is 6 + 8?

2015-04-05 03:46:15

David Sutherland

You can finally edit your own dictionary in Google Sheets!

Go to the menu:
Tools... Personal dictionary...

Yeah! Finally.