What is Spell Check? - Definition & Use

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  • 0:01 Understanding Spell Check
  • 0:28 Spell Check Options
  • 1:26 Spell Check Documents
  • 1:57 Spell Check Email
  • 2:19 Spell Check Online Discussions
  • 2:40 Accuracy of Spell Check
  • 3:27 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mary Firestone
Find out what Spell Check is and how to use it when communicating online or writing. In this lesson, you'll learn when to use Spell Check versus when to use your own proofreading skills.

Understanding Spell Check

Spell check is a software tool for correcting spelling. It's available in word processing programs, email programs, cell phones, and a variety of other applications, such as blogs and forums. Spell check lets you know when words are misspelled, corrects misspelled words as you type, and allows you to search a whole document for misspelled words.

Spell Check Options

In Microsoft Word documents, you can choose which spell check features you want to use. These options are often found in the 'Proofing' window, located under the 'Review' tab, depending on the version of Word that you use. Word's spell check function is set to automatically check your spelling while you type. Errors in your document will have color-coded underlines reflecting your choices, like red for spelling errors, green for grammar errors, and blue for contextual spelling errors.

If you right-click on an underlined word, a menu with correctly spelled options will appear, which you can select to correct or ignore. You can also always correct the word on your own. The contextual errors let you know when a word is used in the wrong context. Take, for example, the sentence: 'I want too ride with you.' If you right click on the word 'too', a menu will appear with the correct word.

Spell Check Documents

If you prefer, you can make corrections when you've completed your essay or research paper. To do this, select 'Spelling and Grammar' in the 'Proofing' window, and spell check will scan all words in the document and suggest corrections for errors. Another handy spell check feature is the 'Replace' option. If you know you've misspelled a name, for example, you can enter the misspelled version under the 'find' field and the corrected version in 'replace' field. This will correct every instance throughout the document.

Spell Check in Email

Email programs also have spell check software. Like in Word documents, misspellings will typically show up with underlines so you can correct words on the fly. If you'd rather correct the whole email message at once, go to the icons above and sometimes below the text windows, which appear when you're responding or composing, and select 'spell check.'

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