How to Fix Excel Spell Check Not Working: A Comprehensive Guide

September 18, 2023 2.2K views

Excel's spell check is a valuable feature that can help you ensure the accuracy and professionalism of your spreadsheet documents. However, it can sometimes malfunction, resulting in missed errors or incorrect suggestions. This article will provide a detailed guide on how to troubleshoot and master spell checking in Excel effectively.

Why Excel Spell Check Is Not Working

  • Greyed Spelling Button: If the spelling button appears grayed out, it could be due to the active cell not containing text, or the worksheet being protected. Ensure you're in a cell with text and unprotected sheets for the spell check to function.

  • Edit Mode: While editing a cell, the spell check button may be disabled. Exit the cell's edit mode to enable the spell check feature.

  • Text in Formulas: Excel's spell check does not review text within formulas. If the text you want to check is part of a formula, consider copying it into a regular cell for spell checking purposes.

How to Fix It When Spell Check Is Not Working in Excel

Excel Cannot Check Spell in Cell That Contains Formula

Step 1: Double-click the word within the formula cell.

Step 2: Click on "Spelling" from

Step 3: A dialog box will open with spelling suggestions.

Step 4: Select the correct word and press "Change" to apply the correction.

Excel Cannot Apply AutoCorrect for Text in a Dialog Box

Unfortunately, there's no built-in solution for this. You'll need to manually correct spelling within the dialog box.

Turn On Custom Dictionary Option If Spell Check Is Not Working in Excel

Step 1: Click on "File" beside the Home tab.

Step 2: Select "Options" from the lower part of the menu.

Step 3: Navigate to "Proofing" > "Custom Dictionaries."

Step 4: Check all the available options.

Step 5: Press "OK" to save the changes.

Recommend WPS Spreadsheet
  • Use Word, Excel, and PPT for FREE, No Ads.

  • Same Excel Formula as Microsoft. Perfectly compatible with MS format.

  • Microsoft-like interface. Easy to learn. 100% Compatibility.

  • Boost your professional productivity by 10x with WPS's abundant free Excel templates.

5,820,008 User
Algirdas Jasaitis

Ignoring Spelling "errors"

Excel's spell check might mark correct words as incorrect. Here's how to handle such situations:

  • Ignore Once: Skip the word without changing it.

  • Ignore All: Skip the word and all other instances in the worksheet.

  • Add: Add the word to the dictionary, preventing it from being flagged again. Ensure correct spelling before choosing this option.

Free Office Suite for Word, Excel, PowerPoint ——WPS Office

WPS Office is a modernized powerful office tool app that allows you to create, edit, and collaborate on various types of documents. It is one of the best free alternatives to Microsoft Office, as it offers many features and benefits that can enhance your productivity and creativity. Some of the pros of WPS Office are:

  • WPS Office offers a user-friendly interface with easy access to functions and tools.

  • Convenient features include tabbed documents and document encryption.

  • It's compatible with various platforms, supporting numerous file formats and languages.

  • WPS Office is optimized for speed and memory usage, featuring cloud functions and plug-in support.

  • It caters to both beginners and experts, providing templates, functions, and advanced features.

Download website:


1. Is it possible to add specialized dictionaries to Excel?

Absolutely, you can augment Excel's spell check by crafting a custom dictionary. Access "File" > "Options" > "Proofing" > "Custom Dictionaries," and append specialized terms or words to your new dictionary.

2. What do I do if spell check keeps skipping words?

When words are overlooked, investigate for antivirus or add-in interferences, update Microsoft Office to its latest version, and double-check custom dictionaries. Additionally, verify that the accurate language is chosen for proofing.

3. What should I do if Excel's spell check suggests incorrect corrections?

When faced with inaccurate suggestions, meticulously assess the word's context and intended meaning. You have the choice to disregard the recommendation or include the correct term in your custom dictionary.


In this comprehensive guide, you've gained valuable insights into resolving Excel's spell check issues. By understanding and addressing the reasons behind the spell check not working, you're now equipped to ensure accurate and polished documents.

Whether it's handling formulas, enabling AutoCorrect, or utilizing custom dictionaries, you have the tools to enhance your spell checking experience in Excel 2023. And with the added knowledge of the powerful WPS Office as a free alternative, your office productivity is poised for remarkable improvement. Don't let spell check troubles hinder your Excel usage—take charge of your documents with confidence.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.