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Dictionary Look-up in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word has never had dictionary definitions built into its spell checker and for this reason many people use specialist spellcheckers such as the one found in TextHelp Read & Write.

However since version 11 (Microsoft Office Word 2003) its been possible to look up meanings for words within your document. This only works when your computer is connected to the Internet so it is most useful for broadband and other 'always-on' connections.

Look Up on the Context Menu

To look up a word in Word's dictionary simply right-click on it and select Look Up from the context menu that appears.

Alternative you can simply hold ALT while clicking on your target word.

Research Taskpane

The Research taskpane should appear on the far right of your screen. My copy of Word looks up the word in Microsoft's own online Encarta dictionary. The definitions are split, in this case, into both the noun transitive verb version of doughnut. Other words, such as cold, may also have an adjective or adverb meaning which will be listed under similar subheadings.

The minus sign in the box next to the subheading will close that particular class of definition, allowing you to concentrate on only the class your after. For example with cold you might want to only see definitions relating to the cold virus rather than the various adjectives and adverbs about 'being cold'.


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