How To Spell Check In Excel With 1 Click (+Advanced Customization)

Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.

Most of the time, you don’t need to worry about your spelling in Excel.

You have some column and row labels, and that’s about it. Excel is more often full of numbers than of text.

But sometimes you need to see if you’ve made any spelling errors. Whether that’s in column and row labels or in an entire spreadsheet, Excel can help.

Here’s everything you need to know about spell check in Excel…

In addition to the basics of spell check, we’ll also cover a few of the options that you can use to customize how it behaves.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

*This tutorial is for Excel 2019/Microsoft 365 (for Windows). Got a different version? No problem, you can still follow the exact same steps.

Get your FREE exercise file

Spell checking in Excel is easy, but it’s always nice to be able to work with an example spreadsheet.

Download the free workbook below to follow along!

Download the FREE Exercise File

Download exercise file
Download free exercise file

How to check spelling in Excel

Unlike Word and PowerPoint, Excel doesn’t automatically highlight misspelled words for you.

So you’ll need to run a spell check manually.

There are 2 ways to do that.

The first is to hit F7 on your keyboard. That brings up the Spelling window:

excel-spell-check

This is just like the spell-check window in every other Microsoft Office app. At the top of the window, you’ll see the word that Excel has flagged.

Below that, it gives you options to replace it with. All you need to do is select one of the options and hit Change. If you want to replace all the instances of that word, you can click Change All.

If Excel has flagged this word in error, you can tell it to Ignore Once, in which case it will flag that word next time you check the spelling of your document, or Ignore All to never see it brought up again.

To add the word to the custom dictionary so it doesn’t get flagged again in any document, hit Add to Dictionary.

You can also start the spell check by clicking the Spelling button in the Review tab of the Ribbon:

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto
excel-spell-check

Adjusting the behavior of spell check

If you want to tweak how spell check behaves, you have a few options.

To open the Proofing options panel, you can click the Options button in the Spelling window or head to File > Options > Proofing.

excel-proofing-options

Most of the options in this window are self-explanatory.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

In addition to the rather simple options you’ll see in this window, you also have a few options for French and Spanish proofing. For most people, leaving these options on their default values will give you the best results.

You can also click AutoCorrect Options… to see a few more options.

excel-autocorrect-options

Again, the default values will work for almost everyone.

Have a quick look through these menus if Excel isn’t behaving quite how you’d like it to.

For example: you can use the AutoFormat As You Type tab to stop Excel from inserting hyperlinks when you type URLs.

Spell-checking multiple sheets

By default, Excel only looks at a single sheet when checking spelling. You can tell it to spell check multiple sheets at once with a simple trick.

Before pressing F7 or the Spelling button, right-click on any sheet tab and click Select All Sheets.

excel-select-all-sheets

Then run spell check as normal.

That’s all there is to it!

Wrapping things up…

Excel might not automatically check your spelling, but it makes the process very easy. Just hit F7 or the Spelling button in the Review tab. That’s all you need to know.

Of course, there are a few tweaks you can make to how Excel checks your spelling. But the vast majority of people will be fine with the default settings.

The biggest difficulty in the entire process is remembering to run the spell check before you send your document off to someone else 😀 !