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July 26, 2005 12:03 AM

Broken: Outlook spellcheck

Repeated_wordBrian Simcoe writes:

This one really gets me. I always spell-check my e-mails before sending them. The spell checker catches my repeated words. But in this case, as has happened to me before, it is the first word that I mistyped, not the second; "the the" should have been "to the". But Microsoft assumes that the only possibility is that I will want a different second word. My only recourse is to cancel the spell check, then say "No" to the question, "The spell check was canceled. Do you want to send anyway?" then go back and find the mistake and edit it "manually". Grrr.


Can't you have it do the red-underliney thing instead?

Posted by: Dan at July 26, 2005 01:00 AM

I don't know about Outlook, but in Word you can change it in the spell check window by entering the desired change into the 'Change to' field.

Posted by: Fayth at July 26, 2005 01:15 AM


But that doesn't matter in this case, because it would change the SECOND "the," he needs the first one changed.

I don't use Outlook, but I do know that MS Word allows you to click into your document while spellchecking and make any adjustments, then click back into the spell check window and resume the spell checking. Does Outlook not allow this?

Posted by: Chris B at July 26, 2005 03:45 AM


what can u expect?

Microsoft = Broken!!


Posted by: xxdark_messenger at July 26, 2005 08:51 AM

I'm curious, what have you mispelled? What's happening here is that a tool designed for one purpose (checking spelling) is being adapted to another purpose (checking grammar). It's no surprise the interface doesn't hold up in this case, because you usually can't force one model into another without problems.

Posted by: Robby Slaughter at July 26, 2005 10:14 AM

I had a long email to type and my son suggested using Microsoft Word (then cut and paste). It didn't reconize any contractions as words. How annoying...I'm back to using Mozilla.

Posted by: me at July 26, 2005 10:48 AM

The spell czecher red-underlines any repeated words it thinks are wrong. It only underlines the second word on. I agree with Dan; you should probably just have it do the red-underliney thing and then check it yourself.

Posted by: Bob at July 26, 2005 11:41 AM

Another stupid post. It is SPELL check, if you mistype a word but it is a correctly typed word, SPELL check will ignore it because it is not mis-SPELLED! It's called proof reading., I do it all the the time.

Posted by: Ed at July 26, 2005 11:50 AM

It's not that it thinks the second word (as opposed to the first) is incorrect, it thinks it is redundant. You'll notice it isn't offering suggested other spellings, it is offering to delete the repeated word.

Repeating a word is actually a very common mistake that is rather difficult to catch in proofreading, because your brain glosses over the repeated word and mentally combines them. Much less common is repeating a word accidentally by misspelling a word before the repeated word and ending up with duplicates.

Posted by: Ken at July 26, 2005 11:51 AM

Something that might help a little, I know that it possible to link Outlook's spell checker with Word's more comprehensive one. They did it on all the computers where I work so that we would have a grammar checker as well. It seems to me it was just an option box that needed to be checked, however, I can't recall where it was.

Posted by: Sean P at July 26, 2005 01:45 PM

Our IT department has Outlook configured to NOT do the "red underline thingy," which I would prefer. I hold to my original complaint, that the checker does NOT allow a free-form edit.

Like many business users, I type fast while thinking on the fly. Typing "the the" in place of "to the" is normal typing behavior based on how the brain is processing words into actions. If the fix here is to NOT use the spell/grammar checker and instead proof read only by eye, then the spell/grammar checker is broken. Which is what I said.

Posted by: Brian Simcoe at July 26, 2005 02:03 PM

This feature is for redundant words and since a word can't be redundant until the second time, it will not indicate the first word as being such. So technically speaking it is not broken. The only way to avoid this problem is to not use this feature.

In this case its not that the first the is misspelled but that the second one is redundant and should be deleted and then "to" should be added into the text. Spell check can not determine that a word was mistakenly omitted.

Posted by: tool at July 26, 2005 06:03 PM

And how about the fact that after 8 or so versions, Outlook spellchecker STILL doesn't check the Subject line in my emails?

Posted by: Ricardo at July 26, 2005 10:24 PM

While it may seem frustrating to exit out of the spell check to make the change, think of how frustrating it would be to send the email with the error. The checker did its job and alerted you to a *possible* error. Since man designs them, no robot or computer program will ever be perfect.

I do not use Outlook, but I use Word quite frequently. You can enter the "AutoCorrect" option to change "The the" to "To the." As others have pointed out, you should be able to use the spell/grammar checker from Word in Outlook.

Posted by: Will at July 26, 2005 10:46 PM

Mr. Simcoe- Why in the world do they not want the red underline thingy?

Posted by: Bob at July 27, 2005 06:31 AM


Beats me; won't do a spell check while I'm typing, only at the end. There are a few options in Outlook that I am used to from other locations that are disabled, and the options to change them are greyed out. Bizarre, huh?


"No program is perfect so don't use it" = BROKEN. Think about how easy it would be to add a button option for repeated words: [CHANGE PHRASE]. As was pointed out earlier, the only options they give us are "Delete" and "Ignore". That is what is broken, not giving the user the simple option of changing the phrase free-form.


Posted by: Brian Simcoe at July 27, 2005 11:03 AM

Why don't you just highlight the problem and type what you want in the "hange to" window?

Posted by: John at July 27, 2005 12:12 PM

When I said "it possible to link Outlook's spell checker with Word's more comprehensive one." I meant that you could use Word's spell checker in Outlook. Where I work this has been done on all our computers. Instead of using Outlook's inadequate spell checker it opens Word's when you click on the spell check button in Outlook.

If anyone knows how this is done I would like to know, I was shown how but I have forgotten.

Also TIB seems to be broken, it doesn't "Remember personal info" whether the box is checked or not.

Posted by: Sean P at July 27, 2005 12:19 PM

Part of what is broken is the extra step in canceling the spell check. Thunderbird has two buttons, one to cancel and one to send. So if you just want to stop the spell checking and do some more editing, you can with one click. If you want to stop the spell checking and send the email as is, you can with one click. Nice. Outlook's requirement for an extra click is annoying.

Posted by: Jamie Nettles at July 28, 2005 02:29 PM

With a little more digging I found that the reason I cannot use Word as my editor is that one cannot use Word 2000 with Outlook 2003. That is why the option to use Word 2003 as the editor is grayed out. Micripoffsoft Batsurds!

Posted by: Brian Simcoe at July 28, 2005 04:50 PM

But where is the option of which you speak Brian Simcoe?

Posted by: Sean P at July 28, 2005 07:30 PM

Sean P.- Maybe it's your computer. Mine remebers the info fine, others i've used don't.

Posted by: Bob at July 29, 2005 09:06 AM

OK but the strange thing is it used to a few months ago. Thanks fot the input Bob

Posted by: Sean P at July 29, 2005 09:48 AM


Tools -- Options -- Mail Format.

That's in Outlook 2003; it should be similar in other versions.


Posted by: Brian Simcoe at July 29, 2005 12:13 PM


Posted by: Sean P at August 1, 2005 11:01 AM

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