Spell check Excel documents

You can spell check Excel documents but there are a couple of tips and tricks you need to use to make it act more like a Word spell check. First to note is that there is no convenient automatic spell check in Excel (red underline indicating a wrong spelling). You need to run the spell check purposefully.

Cell Selection with Spell Check

Before we see how to spell check a worksheet, it is very important to note that the cell/s highlighted will result in different levels of spell check.

If you are clicked on one cell, running spell check will result in Excel looking at ALL the cells in that worksheet. So below if you only click on cell E1, then spell check, it checks all the cells in the red box.

Spell check Excel documents

If you have highlighted 2 or more cells (e.g. A4 to A13 below), Excel will ONLY run the spell check against the highlighted cells.

Spell check Excel documents

You would use the highlighting of a number of cells on spreadsheets where, for example, the account descriptions (with real words you want to check the spelling for) are in cells A4 to A13 as above but in column B there are alphanumerics for the account codes which you don’t want Excel to waste time trying to spell check.

Spell check one worksheet

To spell check one worksheet, go to the worksheet and:

  • Choose the cells you want to check or click on one cell only to check the entire worksheet.
  • Click on the REVIEW ribbon and choose spelling
  • Excel will work through the worksheet or cells you selected and you can choose to change or ignore the spelling errors it finds.

Note that this will only look at the worksheet you are on.

Spell check entire workbook/ multiple sheets

If you are running a spellcheck, you might what to do the entire workbook at once or at least multiple sheets in one go.

To do this you need to activate all the worksheets you want Excel to look at.

If it is the whole workbook, right click on a sheet name and choose select all sheets as shown below. If it is multiple sheets but not the whole workbook, hold CTRL down and click on the sheets you want to check the spelling of.

NB- when you have finished the spell check don’t forget to switch off the grouping of the sheets by clicking on any other sheet.

spell check excel documents

The highlighting of cells works the same here.

If you are clicked on one cell, Excel will spellcheck ALL the cells in ALL the activated sheets.

If you have two or more cells highlighted it will ONLY look at those cells, and all the MATCHING cells in the activated worksheets.

NB- when you have finished the spell check don’t forget to switch off the grouping of the sheets by clicking on any other sheet.

Excel spell check very slow

An interesting aspect of spell check (and for some reason goalseek as well), is we sometimes find that spell check is very slow moving between the cells.

We can’t say why, but to make it go faster, after you have clicked Change All or Ignore All, just wiggle your cursor outside of the spell check dialogue box (as shown below) . Strange but works on our machine to move quicker to the next cell.

Related

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Make the cursor start on the same cell in each sheet

How to work on two different excel worksheets at once