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Online Learning @ College of the Canyons
Spell Check, Grammar Check, and Thesaurus

Your instructor will expect college-level work, without spelling and grammatical errors. All assignments, no matter how insignificant, should be run through a spell check program.

Review all papers with a spell check by clicking on the spell check icon on the Standard toolbar.  The Spelling and Grammar check icon is illustrated with a checkmark and the letters "A B C."

There are several types of things the spelling and grammar check review.  You may set these options up yourself by performing the following tutorial.

To set up the spelling and grammar check:
1. Open the "Tools" menu. A drop-down menu will appear.
2. Click on "Options." An Options window will open.
3. Click on the "Spelling and Grammar" tab. the Spelling and Grammar tab will open. Make selections from the following items:

     Check spelling as you type (Most definitely check this box).
     Hide spelling errors in this document
     Always suggest corrections
(A good idea)
     Suggest from main dictionary only (If you use many words from a specialized field such as nursing, law or biotechnology, you may want to use a specialized dictionary, that you have added to the "Custom Dictionary" site.  You may want to ignor checking this box in that case.
     Ignore words in UPPERCASE (checking this box will prohibit the computer from checking the spelling of acronyms and other words entered in uppercase).
     Ignore words with numbers (If you tend to accidentally strike numerical keys while aiming for letters on the top row of the keyboard, you may want to ignore this checkbox).
     Ignore Internet and file addresses

The boxes you check will depend on your individual style and assignments, but always check the box labeled: "Check spelling as you type."

Below the Spell check area and on the same tab is the Grammar check. The following items are listed:

     Check grammar as you type (check this box)
     Hide grammatical errors in this document
     Check grammar with spelling
(a good idea to check this box, too)
     Show readability statistics

The Writing style is located in the Grammar section. It is set at "Standard," which is the style that most people will use most of the time.  Clicking on the down arrow on the right side of the "Writing Style" box will reveal: Casual, Formal, Technical, and Custom.

By selecting different writing styles the word processing program will critically review your document differently. 

When you have finished selecting (or de-selecting) the boxes, click "OK" to save the changes. The Spelling and Grammar window will disappear.


The thesaurus is especially helpful in selecting a variety of synonyms for you to use in your doucment. There are two ways to open the thesaurus.

1. Open the "Tools" menu. A drop-down menu will appear.
2. Go to "Language," then click on "Thesaurus."

Hold the "Shift" key down, and tap the "F7" key. [Note: This is the Function 7 key, not the "F" and "7" keys.]

The thesaurus will open with a selection of words that are synonyms for the word that was last entered.

The thesaurus will give you a choice of how to use the word and a series of words that might replace it.

For example:
1.  Type the word "big."
2. Open the thesaurus using one of the options listed above.
3. A window will open listing several meanings for the word, "big," including large, bulky, important, and productive.
4. Click on "important" in the left column. Notice that the words in the right column change.
5. Click on "substancial" in the right column.
6. Click on the "Replace" box at the bottom of the window.  The new word (substancial) will appear in your document.

If you decide to keep your original word, click on the "cancel" box and the thesaurus window will disappear. Important note: Your original word (big) is now highlighted or selected. Click the mouse to save your original word. If you tap the "Enter" key instead, the highlighted word (big) will disappear.