Hide Spelling Suggestions in Word to Train Writing Skills

Introduction to DocTools HideSpellingSuggestions

DocTools HideSpellingSuggestions is an add-in for Microsoft Word.

The add-in ​works with Word 2007, Word 2010, Word 2013 or Word 2016 on PC.

Important information about Word 2016: The HideSpellingSuggestions add-in needs to adjust the menu that appears when you right-click in text marked as a spelling error. A bug in Word 2016 that has been present since the first release of Office 2016 has prevented such adjustments from working. The bug has been fixed. The fix was first included in build number 16.0.6568.2016 that was released in February 2016. If the spelling suggestions are not hidden as expected, the cause is most likely that your current version of Word 2016 does not include the bug fix. You will find the current build number of your Word version via File > Account > Version (in the right side of the dialog box).

The add-in hides the spelling suggestions from the right-click menu that appears when the selection is in text marked as a spelling error. In addition, spelling suggestions are removed from the Spelling and Grammar dialog box. See the illustrations below. The illustrations are made in Word 2010. The right-click menu in Word 2013 contains fewer commands.

The idea is to train Word users to think more about what they write and maybe consult e.g. a dictionary instead of randomly selecting a spelling suggestion provided by Word.

Illustrations of the results of installing the add-in

The spelling right-click menu before installing the add-in

Spelling suggestions are found in two places in the Spelling right-click menu

Spelling suggestions are found in two places in the Spelling right-click menu.

The spelling right-click menu after installing the add-in

Spelling suggestions removed from right-click menu

Spelling suggestions removed from right-click menu.

The Spelling and Grammar dialog box before installing the add-in 

Spelling dialog box

The Spelling and Grammar dialog box after installing the add-in 

Spelling suggestions removed - Spelling and Grammar dialog box

You will find more details about the add-in below.

FREE download - see below

DocTools HideSpellingSuggestions - FREE download

Version number:

Release date:

Supported Word versions:

1.3 (see Changelog for info about versions and changes)

March 23, 2015

Word 2007, Word 2010, Word 2013, Word 2016 on PC


How to download and install the add-in

  1. Fill in the fields to the right.*

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  2. Click the green Download button.
  3. An email with a download link will be sent to the email address you specify.

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    appear within a few minutes.
  4. Click the link in the email to download a zip file that includes the add-in.
  5. Install the add-in.
    Installation instructions are included in the email you receive.
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More details about DocTools HideSpellingSuggestions

The story behind the DocTools HideSpellingSuggestions add-in

I developed this add-in based on a question from a Word user, Gary Ward, back in the start of 2014. Gary asked in a Word forum whether it is possible to hide the spelling suggestions in Word but still have spelling mistakes marked. Gary wanted to teach his children to use a dictionary in relation to their Word based homework instead of blindly relying on Word's suggestions.There is no way to obtain this using Word's built-in functionality. Therefore, I made some experiments to find out how the spelling suggestions could be hidden without disturbing or changing the way all other spelling and grammar functionality works in Word. The end result was the DocTools HideSpellingSuggestions add-in.

What does the add-in do?

As explained and illustrated in the Introduction section above, the add-in hides spelling suggestions from the right-click menu that appears when the selection is in text marked as a spelling error. In addition, spelling suggestions are removed from the Spelling and Grammar dialog box.

The experience after having used the add-in for several months

Here is what Gary Ward says after the add-ins has been installed for a year:

Initially there were a good few grumps and moans as the girls would repeatedly right click and then realize that no suggestions were offered. I had hoped that they would start using a dictionary; retro I know, using paper, but I’m still a firm believer in the value of books. They haven’t moved to a paper dictionary but being of the digital age they have moved to online dictionaries or Google.

I would still call the exercise a success because, regardless of source, they still have to go away and find the correct spelling and copy it to their work.

In looking through their work there are very few spelling mistakes so they are being conscientious enough to look it up, and they must also be reading the explanations as it’s rare to find the wrong spelling option.

I think this is valuable where parents or teachers want to ensure the children are not reliant on Word suggestions and are thinking about what they write.

Gary Ward

Icon in Quick Access Toolbar (QAT)

DocTools HideSpellingSuggestions adds an icon to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). The icon lets you open a dialog box with information about the add-in. In addition, the dialog box includes a link to this website for easy access to further information and other add-ins.

HideSpellingSuggestions icon in QAT

When you install the add-in, this icon is added to the QAT.

Word 2013 and Word 2016 - Spelling & Grammar Task Pane versus Spelling and Grammar dialog box

You can initiate spell check by pressing F7 or by selecting Review tab > Spelling & Grammar. In Word 2007 and 2010 this opens the Spelling and Grammar dialog box. This has, however, been changed in Word 2013 and Word 2016 - instead of a dialog box a task pane is opened (by default positioned to the right in the window). Note that if you install the DocTools HideSpellingSuggestions add-in, F7 and Review tab > Spelling & Grammar will open the Spelling and Grammar dialog box as in earlier versions of Word.

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