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 on PC.
The add-in works with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Word.

Note that the add-in previously worked with Word 2016 too. However, due to changes in Word 2016 (at least in Click-to-Run versions), it may now result in an error when initiating spell check. If you install the add-in in Word 2016 and experience such error, you should uninstall the add-in again.

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 removed from 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 on PC

How to download and install the add-in

  1. Fill in the fields to the right.*

    * Your name and email address will only be used to send you the download link incl. installation instructions. See Privacy Policy.
  2. Click the Download button.
  3. An email with a download link will be sent to the email address you specify.

    Please check your spam or junk email folder if the email does not
    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.

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 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.

More details about DocTools HideSpellingSuggestions

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-in 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 – 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 – 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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