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John Paul Cook

Enabling custom spell checking in Word 2011 on a Mac

I previously posted how to add a medical dictionary to Word 2010. It’s a simple matter of copying a file and adding it to Word. Although the concept is the same with Word 2011 on a Mac operating system, implementation on a Mac requires some additional effort. For those of you who aren’t Mac power users, I’ve provided screen captures detailing the tricks you must know to achieve success.

The file you need is downloaded from here where where I posted how to add a custom dictionary to Word 2010 on Windows 7. Scroll almost to the bottom of the post and right-click the link to open the download menu. Select the Download Linked File As option.


Figure 1. Right-click the link and select Download Linked File As.

Next, you must specify a file name and location for the dictionary file. You can use any file name and location. I chose en_US_OpenMedSpel100 for the file name and the Microsoft Office 2011 folder for the location.


Figure 2. Under Favorites, select Applications, then select Microsoft Office 2011. Provide a meaningful name for the file (I used en_US_OpenMedSpell100) and click Save.

You will need to navigate to your Microsoft Office 2011 folder and open the downloaded zip file to extract the dictionary file. You can do this by opening your Documents folder, then selecting Applications, and finally selecting Microsoft Office 2011. You can delete your zip file after extracting its contents if you want to keep your folders neat and clean.


Figure 3. Navigate to the Microsoft Office 2011 folder and open the zip file.

Go to Word’s menu and select Preferences as shown.


Figure 4. Select and open Word’s Preferences menu.


Figure 5. Select Spelling and Grammar on the Preferences dialog box.


Figure 6. Click the Dictionaries button on the Spelling and Grammar dialog box.

Custom Dictionaries

Figure 7. Click the Add button to add the custom dictionary.


Figure 8. The dictionary file appears but is not selectable. Select All Files to make it selectable.


Figure 9. Select your custom dictionary file and click the Open button.


Figure 10. Click OK to finish adding the custom dictionary file.

Published Wednesday, October 5, 2011 9:06 PM by John Paul Cook

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Naline Lai, MD said:

thank you, thank you , thank you! I am editing a medical textbook and it's pretty tough without a medical dictionary. The only way I can possibly return the favor is if you have kids or know kids and point you to the pediatric advice blog I write with a fellow pediatrician

thanks again

July 27, 2013 10:57 AM

IT MD said:

Thanks for the help

January 25, 2014 5:57 PM

Brian Klenk said:

As a BSN nursing student, I really appreciate this tool.  As a side note, I just found Stedman's does not work on Macs, which (of course) my school just converted to.

Many thanks!

January 25, 2014 9:03 PM

Theo said:

Would love if there was a UK medical dictionary download. We use different spelling e.g. oesophagus, anaemia etc.

May 10, 2014 12:55 PM

Heidi said:

Thank you very much for this! It worked flawlessly!

June 18, 2014 11:53 PM

Rahul said:

Thanks so much... this really made my day being in Transcription profession and started using MAC, ..

November 19, 2014 10:27 AM

DD said:

I love you

November 20, 2014 8:53 PM

Deb said:

Awesome sauce.  You rock!  Thanks for sharing.

January 7, 2015 1:49 PM

Whit said:

Works great on my Mac. Thank you for the clear instructions!

January 14, 2015 10:09 PM

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About John Paul Cook

John Paul Cook is a database and Azure specialist in Houston. He previously worked as a Data Platform Solution Architect in Microsoft's Houston office. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a SQL Server MVP. He is experienced in SQL Server and Oracle database application design, development, and implementation. He has spoken at many conferences including Microsoft TechEd and the SQL PASS Summit. He has worked in oil and gas, financial, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. John is also a Registered Nurse currently studying to be a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Contributing author to SQL Server MVP Deep Dives and SQL Server MVP Deep Dives Volume 2. Connect on LinkedIn

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