Spell check in Excel 2019 / 365, 2016 and 2013 (automatically and manually)


Last updated: November 2019

Applicability: Office 2019, 2016, 2013; Office 365 and Standard. Windows and MAC OSX operating systems.

Here’s a question that we received a few days ago:

I am currently using Excel 2016 on a Windows 10 based computer. As i am quite a fast typist, i often accidentally make quite a bit of spelling mistakes. For some reason i would expect that Excel would spell check as i type into the cell. If i recall correctly, Word does by default auto corrections in documents, so i would expect that Excel will behave similarly or am i ƒwrong here? To me it seems that the Excel 2016 speller doesn’t work… How to spell check in my Excel spreadsheet?

Thanks for your question. It’s a good one. Automatic spelling check is indeed one the key capabilities of the Office suite. As far as Text proofing, there is a fundamental difference between Excel and Word (or PowerPoint and OneNote). Turns out that Excel doesn’t have the ability to auto correct your spelling and grammar as you type text in the spreadsheet unless you specifically enabled it in the AutoCorrect Options (see below how to do it); whereas Word and PowerPoint do auto correct as you type. Let’s get started with Excel.

Excel Spell check

The spell checker in Excel is located in the Review tab.

In order to proof check your worksheet text, go ahead and proceed as following:



  1. Open your workbook and navigate to your worksheet.
  2. In the Ribbon, open the Review tab.
  3. Hit on Spelling.
  4. Your worksheet will be analyzed for errors, and Excel will provide suggested corrections in the Spelling dialog.
  5. In case of false-positives, you could Add to Dictionary relevant words or terms.
  6. Alternatively, hitting the F7 button will achieve the same results.
  7. Once done, hit on OK.
  8. Save your work as needed.

Enable Auto-Correct in Excel

The Spelling dialog which we just reviewed in the section above also allows you to trigger an AutoCorrect action. AutoCorrect automatically amends your content according to the rules you have defined under Options>>Proofing.

Some of the auto-correction rules you can define:

  • Automatic capitalization of first letters in a sentence.
  • Capitalization of Days
  • Correction of Caps Lock accidentally pressed.
  • And any automatic text replacement you might have

Note: Remember,  the AutoCorrect capability spell check is not triggered automatically in Excel, you have to invoke it on your own. That’s the reason that Excel can’t spell check as you type your text.

Check Spelling Using VBA Macros

You might want to enable or disable spell checking auto-corrects in your Office macros.

Enable text replacement in VBA:
With Application.AutoCorrect
'this code turns on Automatic text corrections
.ReplaceText = True
end With
Turning Off text replacement in VBA:
With Application.AutoCorrect
'this code turns off Automatic text corrections
.ReplaceText = False
end With

Spell Checking in Word and PowerPoint

A few users asked about the auto spelling capabilities of other Microsoft Office suite applications. In this section we’ll go ahead and review how the spell checking correction options work on Microsoft PowerPoint and Word.

Manual proof checks

  1. Open the Word or PowerPoint file that you want to proof check.
  2. You can always find the Spelling & Grammar option under Review tab in the Proofing group.
  1. This will check the entire document for spelling errors.
  2. Alternatively, you can do this by just pressing F7 key, which ‘ll do the same job.

Turning on Auto spell checks

As mentioned above, Word automatically checks your content and grammar as you type those. If for some reason, this capability is not enabled in your system, proceed as following.

  1. Click on Options under File menu.
  2. In the pop up window that opens, select Proofing.
  3. Under When correcting spelling and grammar in Word/Excel, check your desired options and click on OK.

Disabling Auto proofing

If for some reason, you would like to turn off ongoing auto spelling and grammar corrections as you type in your document, just go ahead and uncheck the first two boxes in the section highlighted in the section above.

Auto Spell Check in macOS

If you are using Excel on macOS, the spellchecking function is quite consistent to the Windows version.

  1. Open your workbook in Microsoft Excel for mac.
  2. Navigate to the Review tab.
  3. Press the Spelling button.
  4. Excel will scan your worksheet for spelling mistakes.
  5. Once found you can either Ignore Once, Ignore All , Add new words to your Dictionary or Change based on Suggestion.
  6. AutoCorrect is also available as an option.

Note: In order to define the AutoCorrect rules in mac, proceed as following: In the upper Office for macOS Ribbon, hit Excel, then select Preferences and then select AutoCorrect. Now go ahead and define the required AutoCorrect rules for replacing erroneous text. Similar to the Windows version, Excel ships rules to correct common capitalization and hyperlinks keyboard mistakes as well as define custom rules.

In case of any questions, feel free to leave as a comment :-)

Leave a Comment:

1 comments
MAX LEE says July 13, 2019

I am using Excel 2010 and want to automatically correct/update the entire table of words (the majority of which are misspelled). The “change all” does not seem to work. F7 does work as expected. What am I missing?

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