How to Set the Default Language Dictionary on Microsoft Word 2007

Need to know more about WORD? Try a comprehensive WORD 2007 course – covers all other Microsoft Office products too!

Default Dictionary for Microsoft Word 2003

If you are having problems with the default dictionary setting for Word 2003, please read about how to set the default dictionary on Microsoft Word 2003.

Default Dictionary for Microsoft Word 2007

To achieve this, follow these instructions.

1. Click on start, then on all programs, then on Microsoft Office, then on Microsoft Office Tools, then on Microsoft Office 2007 Language Settings – see picture below.

Word Language Settings

2. When you have done that, you will see another window shown below :

Word 2007 Language Settings

Then ensure that the enabled editing languages you need are in the Enabled Editing Languages box on the right hand side and that the default the Primary Editing Language is set in the box at the bottom of the window as shown above. This will be the default dictionary.

If that doesn’t work – there are scores of suggestions below in the comments to this blog post. Thanks to everyone who has contributed. I can’t believe how many people continue to have problems with Word. Maybe the latest version is better?


  1. Just installed MS Office Home & Student 2007 on new laptop running WIN7. Have set Vietnamese in Word but when typing, not getting Viet language. Tried highlighting english text and telling it to translate…not successful either. Have done the “tools” thing and Vietnamese is appearing at the bottom of the Word document (next to Page and Word count). Have set Vietnamese to “default” so many times,,,,I’m frustrated it isn’t working.

  2. This is one of the most annoying problems with Microsoft Word, because it’s such a time waster, technology working against you. The only way my version of Word will use English UK is if I set it in each document using the following controls;
    Review tab> click Set Language button (in ‘Proofing’ area of toolbar) to open a ‘Language’ window> Select English (U.K.)> click Default button> click Yes to the menu box which opens asking for confirmation> click OK to close the ‘Language’ window.
    All this, every time for each document, regardless of all other settings.

  3. Still does not work for me for English Australia to be the Primary.
    Why does the whole world have to revolve around that friggin country? Everytime i reset it to english aus, it resets itself to english US

  4. Thanks so much!

  5. Thank-you for solving the issue of how to change my default dictionary! It is working for now but I suspect that Microsoft or my network admin will find a way to change it on me again!

    If only I could figure out how to make the “inter-word spacing” appear normal again!
    .-= Stuff Rich People Love´s last blog ..#87 – Doormen =-.

  6. Thnx..a lott wrks gr8……thnk u vry mch…

  7. MS Word (every version I have ever used) switches to French on certain words (such as ‘environmental’) when spell checking. It cannot be changed back to English until you accept the word in question. I hate microsoft.

  8. just do simple step ….



    spelling & grammar( in the top left )

    disable spelling cheek …

  9. Thanks. it was helpful 🙂

  10. I was wondering if anybody figured out a PERMANENT way to get rid of US English on Microsoft Office 2007 and my PC as a whole for Vista because I want to use UK English ONLY. Even though I was born and raised in America, I prefer to use British English since it’s the original language and sound so much better than the version I was taught here. So please help me out. I can’t take this any more!

  11. I tried everything and found the following fixed the dictionary language for me:

    Ctrl + a to select all
    On the ribbon, click on Review then click Set Language and select the language you need.

  12. I tried all the above, it kept changing back to “US” when I clicked in the text.
    So I “CTRL A” (select all) to click the “English US” at the bottom, then selected “English UK” Then clicked “Default”, then “OK” then “OK”.
    It seemed to work 😀

  13. Now, now Gareth.

  14. Cheers was driving me nuts with all the dodgy spellings which were all ok now only have english uk as it should be 🙂

    and we should teach americans how to spell properly (mind you prob need to start here first 😛 )

  15. 1) Open up Word 2007
    2) Click on the top left Office Button (the multi-coloured circular button in the top left corner)
    3) At the bottom of the window that pops out, click on the Word Options button
    4) click on the proofing and customize dictionaries.
    5)remove the english united stated from the list.
    6)Now the default would be enlgish United kingdom

  16. thank you for this advice. I have a mac but there was sufficient info to help me despite the slight difference in the way things are shown on screen

  17. Peter Brown says

    Hi, This finally worked for me in Office 2007 in XP. Assuming you have done all of the above- Control Panel/Regional and Language Options/Click “Languages” Tab/Click Details/Under the “Settings Tab there is a drop down menu which probably says”English US” In that menu when you click on it there may be another option which has your language preference eg. “English-(Australia)-US” or similar. Select that one and click on “Apply”.Click OK and exit control panel. My Word 2007 then opened with the correct setting.
    Worth a try!

  18. Bill Halvorsen says

    You must understand that MS’s primary purpose is to annoy all of us users to the maximum extent possible. One of the sneaky things they have done to accomplish this is to hide yet another language setting deep inside each style. Right-click on a style, select “modify”, click on “format”, and you will see an entry for language. So, in addition to all the other language settings listed above, you have to make sure that all of the style language settings are correct.

  19. Howard Joe says

    Depending on where I am in the document, the dictionary switches between English and French. And, even after selecting all the text, I see no option in the status bar or under the Review tab to change the language.

    By the way, U.S. English is fine. It’s the UK version that’s gone potty.

  20. Mike – No worries. Every little helps. It’s surprising how many people have been helped by this thread thanks to the suggestions added my the many who’ve visited.

  21. mike robinson says

    Many thanks for this page. Microsofts idiocy fooled all in my office till I found it. We serially applied all the solutions, and the last one (Oct 16) actually worked.
    No we can work in real english and not have pesky american irritations foisted on us all the time.

  22. Ok after reading through several of these comments with no luck I mixed and matched them until it worked (for me)

    First check that you have your chosen language in the office language settings

    For XP: Start/all programs/microsoft office/microsoft office tools/Microsoft Office 2007 Language Settings (US english will remain regardless) just make sure your language is also in the list on the right.

    Then head over to Control Panel and go to

    control panel/regional and language options/languages/details
    and then in the top drop down box change it to your chosen language.

    now head into word and do the following

    ms word/review/set language/highlight your language and then click the default button (it will ask if you want to set this language to the default, click yes) then click ok…

    This worked for me, hope it works for you too

  23. I have tried everything. I have a 123 page Dissertation; the spell checker is worse than useless.

    Input Locale
    Keyboard Settings
    MS Office Tools
    Word Language Settings

    and still this awful program, with the inability to edit footnotes, wants to use US ENGLISH and bastardise accepted UK English.

    How do I remove the defaultUS setting PERMANENTLY at the code level ? So it no longer exists.

    This problem has plagued Word for years. Still no solution.

    REally pissed off.


  24. This annoys me so much. US English IS NOT ENGLISH. It is a bastardised version of a real language. The fact that its the default language is hilarious. No one has any respect for North American culture that doesn’t live there, and we sure as hell don’t have any respect for the way they’ve fucked up the English language.

  25. For MS Word 2007 in Vista
    Try this:
    1. Right click on a misspelled word in your document
    2. Language –> Set Language –> select preferred language (e.g. English (Australia)) –> Default… –> YES –> OK.
    Worked for me.

  26. Hi all! I had the same problem for very long and I finally found a solution so I thought I’d share it with you guys.

    Control Panel -> Clock, Language, and Region -> Change keyboards or other input methods -> Change Keyboards… -> Add -> English (United Kingdom) or whatever other language -> Ok -> (In default input language) English (United Kingdom) – United Kingdom -> Ok

    This method is for vista. If I find a solution for XPers, I’ll tell you more!

    Enjoy this solution!

  27. Open Word 2007 then look at the status bar at the bottom, if says something like English (USA) try this. Left click on the status bar on English (USA) the Language bar should open, highlight English (UK) and click Default also make sure the Detect Language automatically is NOT checked. Once you click Default you should get a pop up asking you about it just click “Yes” then click “OK”. Now close and relaunch Word on the Status bar it should now say English (UK). All New documents now should be in English.. Hope this works and helps you out LMK..

  28. Download Open Office for free. It doesn’t have these issues and it will read and work with MS-Office

  29. Thank you so much Christopher Mills, that worked a treat, I was about to murder some idiot who set my default to something else!!


  30. James Douglas says

    Chimobi’s post worked for me. If you only ever work in one language, and don’t want windows to “auto-detect” (and thus revert back) then un-check the auto-detect box as well, this has permanently cured my problems!
    PS is Authorised not the correct UK English spelling anyway…

  31. Hi, everybody! I tried everything you suggest (for French language) but it doesnt work.
    The curious thing is that the spellchecker was OK for several pages, and then for unknown reason changed to Spanish! Any other ideas?

  32. Thank you Chris. I’d set the language on Microsoft Office Tools, but had not bothered about the default system language. I changed the language in the Control Panel—>Regional and Language Options, and now, everything works like a charm!
    It’s colour, and not color anymore. Thank you!

  33. Thanks! This was very helpful. Did exactly as was suggested and my Windows 2007 is working perfectly!

  34. An obvious blip in Word 2007, but if I select all of the text and then “set language” and then change the default it sets things right. I seem to have to do this for documents that are not newly created. Those that were created with UK english will revert back each time.

  35. Click the language button next to the word count at the bottom status bar on word application, then on the language popup menu select your language. Click default, when you are asked to confirm, click yes. Voila!

  36. I was having the same problems with word 2007 not allowing me to change the default language and thus spell checking the documents I followed Christopher Mills advice to change the setting in the Regional language settings to the desired language you want from the control panel and finally it works! Please note that you must choose the same for the keyboard language input as well or else it will never work and then you will die a horrible death from banging your head against the keyboard like i have for the last 2 months…

  37. Open your document go to the Review tab. In the first group on the left where the big ABC button is located find a little spell-checker Earth icon (on my it is the middle of the last columnt) click on it and choose the spell-checker language of your liking.

    P.S. I do agree that MS could have done a better job documenting this.

  38. kiwiyumyum says

    Thank you Laura. That worked for me plus I changed the spelling of several of the american spellings [e.g. color to colour, center to centre] to NZ spelling in the autocorrect options

  39. Try selecting the whole document and click on the English (US) on the toolbar at the bottom of the screen next to the Page no and Word Count. From the list select English UK and then click OK. This has just worked for me – authorised was not automatically changed to have a z.

  40. I am also having the same problem and its causing me real problems. I need the UK English spell checker and it keeps changing to US. I have tried all the suggestion this page and none of them have fixed the problem. Every default I can find is set to UK English and it still happens. I am very desperate. I’m dyslexic and trying to write my PhD thesis and am heavily reliant on my spell check. I keep receiving criticism for using US spellings in my work and its because of this problem. I can’t always recognise the US spellings because of my dyslexia. Very very desperate! Please please help!! I am using office 2007 on a Vista machine.

  41. Having a similar problem, but in the US. My Office 2007 upgrade does not spell check no matter what I do. The languages are set to English US, but the language page still suggests that Word is thinking I’m French since it has an option for old or new style French spellings. I also see that there is are proofing files for French, but I don’t see any for English. Sigh. Any suggestions? I’ve tried everything on this list except removing the French language ones as I don’t know how to do that.

    Appreciate any suggestions.

  42. John Robinson says

    Sorry to post again so soon, but I have just noticed something interesting.

    When I select text to copy and paste, I usually take pains only to select the text and final full stop. It is easier, actually, to include a small space after the full stop but this adds a ‘return’ to the pasted text. In these instances, the pasted text changes to US English.

    I have discovered, however, that if I allow the selection to include the small space after the final full stop the text pastes in UK English. The only drawback is the need to remove the ‘return’ at the end.

    Can anyone explain why this happens?

  43. John Robinson says

    I have the same problem. I have tried removing US English as you suggest, and other tactics such as removing it from Control Panel/languages, keyboard settings, etc. When I restart Word, it’s back. Often when I copy and paste text, for some reason the old text in UK English changes to US English even though the source text is UK English.

    I have given up, realising that this is just another way in which the US is trying to take over the world!

    I use crappy Vista, by the way (it was pre-installed on my laptop – I would never dream of buying it, given the choice).

  44. I tried go to Text Services and Input Languages, and removed the bloody US English entirely. then I restart my Word 2007, and finally it works. stupid Microsoft

  45. Hi there. I have a small update on how to change the default language on MS Word 2007. Make sure you obviously have the Regional and Language Setting set to English UK but however your keyboard would not have been set automatically so you will have to go to Control Panel (on Windows XP) then ‘Regional and Language Settings’ and select the ‘Languages’ tab at the top of the window and then select the ‘Details’ button on the top right of the window and make sure everything says English UK if not change it to English UK.

    Thanks and hope it helps

  46. I have the exact same problem. I do not think there is anything else we can do. Can anyone else help. I have office 07 on 6 of my PC’s and they are all saying English US. I want it on English UK as default. It will not allow me. Please can anyone help.


    Christopher Mills

  47. Jennifer says

    Hello everyone.

    I have read each entry, and I have done everything I was instructed to do. Still, Word will not enable my UK English spell check. I have done everything from changing the default language options on my PC via the Control Panel; to switching the default language in MS Word to English (UK); to removing English (US) as an enabled language from MS Word; to just typing text, highlighting it, right-clicking on it, and setting the language to English (UK) from there. I have restarted Word. I have restarted the computer. NOTHING WORKS!!!!

    I’m about ready to start slamming my head into the wall! I am a stay-at-home mother of a young baby, and I just accepted a job transcribing audio files from home. But everything must be in UK English, not US English. I can’t afford to lose this job! I even called Microsoft to ask them to help, but they apparently don’t even know what they’re doing.

    I have Microsoft 2000, and I even downloaded a trial version of Microsoft 2007; I still have the same problem with both programs. In the bar at the bottom of the document in the 2007 version (where it displays the language setting), no matter what I do, it will not change from English (U.S.). Can anybody please help??

    Thank you all.

  48. THANK YOU ALL for posting this stuff…I was seriously about to throw my machine out the window. I am a hardcore Word power user (using it since v.3.0 on the Mac in the early 90’s) and would never in a million years have guessed that *words* within a document could be configured to be in a language. I can see the value in it – you have a chapter or excerpt from something and want to tell Word that it’s in that language and to check – but clearly the problems we all face stem from Word’s attempt to automatically *detect* that language. I can’t tell you how often I’ve run into my spell check defaulting to French when I’m just trying to spell check in plain ol’ U.S.ofA. English. Select all, set language to US English, VOILA! 🙂

    thank you all so much


  49. Liz Jamieson says

    Love – I could do with more of that. Give me some more please. I started this post out of frustration, and I’m amazed at how many people have added to it to try to get to the bottom of the problem. Glad one of these solutions worked for you.
    x <---- love

  50. I love you liz!!!!!!
    The link you posted on 3/13/08 finally fixed the problem for me. My system kept changing to irish and i was ready to throw the note book out the window.
    Thanks a mil Liz

  51. If any of you are still having problems with Office 2007 then I have found another possible solution. I had done most of the suggestions above and I was still having spell checked in US english.

    In word with a/your document open look down to the bottom left of the screen and you should see the following:- Page xx ¦ Words ¦ dictionary ¦ macros.

    The language on the dictionary should be set to e.g. US English click on this and you can change it to UK or whaterver is required.

    I suggest doing all that has been suggested including this.

  52. I struggle with the language settings in word 07 all the time. A few things I learned:
    – you will not see the “set language” button under proofing in the review ribbon if the program window is not stretched wide enough
    – grammar & spell check is going fine in desired language until it runs into a word that it doesn’t recognize, at which point it switches to another (enabled) dictionary. Problem: I can’t make it go back. Work-around is to close and re-open word, set the language back to desired one, and put the cursor just past the word that triggers the switch. That way I was able to finish my proofing in the desired language and I dealt with the trigger word manually.

  53. Richard Reed says

    I use Word for the Mac. This is a totally different piece of software to the PC version, written by a specialist Mac team at Microsoft – yet it has exactly the same issue with the default language! You change the default to UK English, yet time and again it reverts to US spelling.
    I blame it on the Yanks – they’re hell bent on world domination!

  54. Christopher says

    Select ‘all’ of the text (Ctrl+A) … and then set your chosen language within Word.

    It seems that this setting does not regard the entire document in principle, but selected text. Hence if you have a document which for example, for what ever reason unknown or otherwise, was originated in US English, setting the language to UK English will only last while you are working on that sentence (where the cursor was upon changing the setting), and not the entire document.

    As someone else said on this blog – the language setting is actually in the text (now XML structured in Word 2007), and not in the document header. Presumably this is so that you can write a document consisting of text in multiple languages, whilst avoiding Word penalising you for incorrect English within your French text for example.

  55. Tried most of these options and still didn’t have a perfect fix, outlook was behaving, but word refused to co-operate. In the end the following worked for me (my target being English UK proofing, but using US Intl keyboard):

    In word (all other office program being closed):
    1) Close all open documents (inc blank default)
    2) Click open, select ‘Trusted Templates’ folder delete any temporary files if present THIS IS THE IMPORTANT STEP which made all the difference, i.e. the delete the greyed out “~$Normal.dotm” and if present “~$NormalEmail.dotm” [if you can’t ‘see’the temporary files, you will have to alter your folder view settings to show hidden files: from any open Windows Explorer window, e.g. My Documents, select “Tools” -> “Folder Options” -> “View” -> “Show hidden files and folder” – if this makes you nervous, you can always change it back afterwards].
    3) Open the “Normal.dotm” template, click on the document (but don’t type anything)and the language should appear in the the status bar at the below the document(lower left hand side of the screen or window) if it doesn’t you can enable “Language” by right-clicking the status bar and choosing customize and clicking the “Language”tick box. If you are reading this I guess it will say “English (U.S.)”, click on it and then choose the language you want from the pop up list and set it as default.
    4) Close the normal template (I wasn’t asked to save any changes) and hopefully you’re done. All subsequent documents open as English UK by default. If you are having problems with Outlook doing the same with the NormalEmail template may resolve the issue since outlook uses word components for proofing.

    Bear in mind that I had already carried out and tried all the other steps mentioned above, so they may well have contributed, or be necessary, for this approach to work.

    Good luck and thanks to the other posters for their contributions and the original article.


  56. The language setting is relative to the individual document and sometimes the spell language setting goes out of whack, even if you have another language as default. You have to “Select All” text in the document first and then set the language at the bottom! This works for me!

  57. I have the same problem, I want the US English version , but it keeps giving me French. French? Where did that come from. I just want to delete all languages except for US-English. Frustrating!!!!

  58. This was driving me nuts too, but I believe I have found the solution to this. Go here for an explanation…

    The problem is down to the latest features in Word which allow you to set different languages for different parts of your documents. **This is not the language settings for your dictionary, but affects which language the dictionary uses** Extremely annoying until you find the answer!

    Good Luck

  59. Here is how I solved it.


    Outlook 2007 on Windows XP

    Language set to English UK. Spelling constantly reverts to English US.


    1) I noticed that if there was a spelling mistake in the subject it would correct it with the Enlish UK Dictionary and then if you moved to the body of the message it would revert to English US

    2) Outlook 2007 uses a work template called NormalEmail.dotm

    3) Open this template in Word (as a template) then on the status bar at the bottom of the window you will see the language as English(US). Left click on this and change it to English(UK). Set as Default. Remove the tick that refers to Use Existing language or something similar.
    Save the docuement and let it replace the existing template. So answer yes to these changes effecting all future documents.

    No close and reopen Outlook and test again.

    Hopefully it will work.

  60. Liz is the best

  61. I’ve failed to find a lasting solution, even after trying all of these solutions together:

    1. Control panel –> Regional and Language Settings… Languages/Details… set to Australia (default) and remove US and restart computer [this appears to work, and US does not come back into this list, but it doers not prevent Word from using a US dictionary.]

    2. Programs/Office tools /Office2007 Language settings… remove US from editable languages list. [This does nothing for me: US has returned next time I go to this setting.]

    3. Office Button/Word Options/Popular/Language Settings… remove US from editable languages. [Has no effect that I can see.]

    4. Select all text in a document, go to Review/Set Language… choose Australia (or anything other than US) and set it as the default, un-check ‘detect language automatically’. [useless and futile.]

    Occasionally I’ve thought I had fixed this problem. If you think you’ve solved it, I challenge you: Simply take a document created by someone else (with any setting on their computer set to US), copy some of their text, paste it into one of your own ‘pure’ documents, save it — if your computer is like mine (XP or Vista) you’ll be right back where you started.

    Shall be very grateful if anyone finds a registry edit that kills the US dictionary forever!

  62. How irritating was this problem!

    I tried everything but nothing worked on the document I had. Then I realised, when you set it to English it doesn’t care about stuff it’s already checked and set to American. Right clicking on single words and changing the language to English got rid of the problem for that word, for a while. Then it hit me – select all, change language on the bar at the bottom and it physically set every word to be English.

    Irritation over. Woo!

  63. The answer is it’s not possible to fully remove the English US dictionary.

    Us poor Brits just have to put up with it irritating the crap out of us in EVERY Microsoft application. In general if you set your default language to British then everything *you* make stays British. The problem is with the other 99.9% of the UK population that can’t get their simple heads around this and leave their docs set in US format.

    I’ve migrated to the Mac recently and sadly things aren’t much better there either. Actually, my Macbook came with a hybridised US keyboard to add insult to injury.

  64. What Ian said worked for me after all other suggested changes did not. My problem with language settings was that I’m working for a US-based publication that follows US style formatting, but our offices are in Hong Kong. Word seems to read the BIOS settings for time zone display, reasoning that British English will suffice for all applications.

    But clicking that Default button to change the Normal template seems to do the trick. Thanks, Ian.

  65. Liz,

    Yes, as I said before, I have been through all that. However, I just stumbled upon the cure.

    Open a document. At the bottom left of the Word window it shows page number, then the word count, then the current language. Despite my previously deleting all references to US English and following all the previous advice, this current language was still showing US English. I left-clicked it and a box appeared showing the current default language. I clicked on UK English to highlight it, clicked Default, then clicked OK.

    Microsoft appear to be making a pig’s ear of Word.

  66. Liz Jamieson says

    Have you checked this post Ian?


  67. The above may work on Vista, but I’m using XP and none of the above suggestions work. I’m still getting UK English spellings being underlined in red.

    Is this a bug in Word 2007 with regard to XP? If I can’t fix this problem I’ll just have to sell 2007 on Ebay and go back to 2003.

  68. Thanks heaps.
    This was annoying me soooo much . . .

  69. Hey there people.


    From what I have read here it seems the way to fix this problem (the problem of changing the Default Dictionary in Word) is the combination of the “Microsoft Office 2007 Language Settings” option and Steve’s way. The office language settings way is described at the follow that and then follow Steve’s way. Which is clicking on START -> CONTROL PANEL –> Regional and Language Options. This will bring up the Regional Language Options window. Here you can change the language to your choice and it will make a difference when you open up Word. So click on the drop down menu in the regional options tab and select the language you wish. When you now open up Word the default language should be the one you have already set in the “Regional Language Options” window and in “Microsoft Office 2007 Language Settings.”

  70. None of the above worked so could someone show me how to do this through Steve’s method but on XP as I can’t figure it out

  71. Xiao Wrote:

    The way I managed to make it work is under the REVIEW tab, clicked Set Language, and set English Australia and then clicked Default..

    This solution worked for me too – up to this, I was struggling with a 42 page uni assignment, loads of errors down to US dictionary! The clicking of default is the key thing!



  72. The way I managed to make it work is under the REVIEW tab, clicked Set Language, and set English Australia and then clicked Default..

  73. So far none of the solutions offered have worked for me. I’m using all my settings for English Australia. The Keyboard is now English International but still the bloody US dictionary does it’s thing. How do you spell ‘organise’. The damed yanks want ‘organize’. My MS Word 2007 install marks both as correct. This sort of problem makes me start to hate using MS shit. I did install this Vista and Office 2007 6 months ago pre the big service packs. Maybe a new install will fix it but maybe not. Did I say I’m starting to hate using MS shit.
    Give me another whiskey please. Cheers.

  74. Hey everyone,
    I had the same (unbelievably annoying) problem and even though there were quite a few new solutions to me from the top post down, none of them worked, although finally Steve Winder’s post (2 posts up) actually worked (so thanks Steve!). I read on Microsofts website it could be the keyboard input language though I couldn’t find where to alter it; I kept going to hardware-keyboard etc. Though thanks to everyone for contributing to this, and thanks again for the solution Steve.

  75. Sana Ghazi says

    Hi all,

    I had the exact same problem and the US Dictionary refused to go away. I’ve tried what Steve Winder said and deleted the US Dictionary entirely. I didn’t even have to set the Dictionary to UK again, it was there by default! The problem seems to be recognition of typing language. 🙂


  76. OleSchmitt says

    I’m having these same problems here, and tryed everything you guys said here.

    I’m not using with these same languages, but it really doesn’t matter: Word keeps changing laguage back to English US everytime.

    It also happens with Vista’s Language Bar: I change it to my language and just before my very eyes, it changes it back to EN. Just like that, it doesn’t obey me.

    Somehow it’s set within Windows Registry, and I would like to know if anyone knows (sic!) how to change it inside registry (in which key should I mess).

    I want the Registry to tell Windows which is my language.


  77. Steve Winder says

    Hi guys,

    what worked for me in this incredibly irritating problem was to go into:

    CONTROL PANEL –> Regional and Language Options –> Keyboards and Languages –> Change keyboards

    Then under the general tab, I added ‘English (United Kingdom)’ in the installed services section, then made sure the keyboard layout was still US-International (as I have a Canadian laptop but live in the UK now), then made sure to click ‘Move Up’.

    So now in MS Word 2007, I added the English (UK) language as default as suggested above, and now it stays on English (UK) and not English (US)

    Hope that helps.

    P.S. This is on Vista Premium, but I am sure it is a similar process for XP.

  78. Liz Jamieson says

    Thanks for all your comments here. It seems that some people have a problem that isn’t fixable using any of the techniques listed so far. I have run out of suggestions for this one. It worked for me; my new Vista machine arrived with the problem already installed, and I took the steps I outlined above to fix it. Anyone have any better ideas?

  79. David Williams says

    I too have experience this problem and I understand it’s because the language setting is embedded in the text. I tried my own text followed by a bit of copy and paste from a US web site. The spell checker used the English(UK) dic to check my work but the English (US) dic to check the web text.

    It is a real pain, I haven’t found a solution to it yet – none of the above work for me.

    Cheers all

  80. Frustrating as hell this. Regardless of what i try I cannot get Word to stop using English US. One comment above refers to opening the Review tab and selecting Set Language near the top left. I cannot even see such a command when I click the Review tab in Word 2007. Think it will just be easier to revert to word 2003!!! A real pain.

  81. Hi, like to contribute my irritation at never ever being able to set the default language to English UK. Ive tried everything listed above… and in every single instance, it resets to English US.

    I think my options are now to just trying to convert everyone I communicate with to spell slightly differently by Default?? Its a new approach, but Im hoping it might catch on?
    🙂 If anyone has a new solution, id like to know it, but no amount of choosing English UK settings anywhere has any effect on my Word documents, which clearly show Im always using English US.

    Even if I remove English US from the language setting.. it reappears there.

    I better get on and start my report now. .. 🙂

    – Adam

  82. Hi Liz,

    No, Ive already made the Regional and Language Options in my Control Panel to English UK. Just to be sure, I’ve even deleted the US English.

    Like I mentioned, if I open a new Word document, it defaults to UK English. But if I open someone else’s doc, or copy and paste text into my doc from that other doc, it reverts to US English.

    Is it because if a doc is written in US English, opening it my system will still show it as using US English?


  83. Its not just the US English default thats the problem – that would actually make my job simpler right now! My Word keeps reverting to New Zealand English. I’ve tried everything I can think of and everything listed above to make it stay on US English as default, but no luck…

  84. Liz Jamieson says

    Hi Gerald
    Could it be that although you’ve done everything for Word to be set to English, that you PC is generally set to American? I found this article on the Microsoft web site.

    It seems that for 2007, you’ll also need to perform the instructions described there.

  85. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for writing this article. I’ve followed your instructions to the letter. When I open up a new document, it uses English (U.K.) by default. But whenever I open a document created by someone else it reverts to English (U.S.). In fact, if I just copy-paste text from another document written in English (U.S.), that portion of pasted text in my document will be in US English.

    How can I make every document English (U.K.) by default?

  86. Liz Jamieson says

    Ted. I am sure I speak for everyone – we are really happy for you!! Well done.

  87. Hi all,

    Well I bought a new machine on the weekend which occasioned a new build. Guess what? I installed office 2007 along with SP1, exactly the same as I did last time. I opened Word and before typing anything, clicked the “Word Options” tab, selected “Popular” and “Language Settings”. The U.S. dictionary was there as the default and the only selected dictionary in the “Enabled editing languages” list. I added the U.K. dictionary and set it as default and here’s where I see a difference.

    In my last installation I could set the U.K. dictionary as the default, but I couldn’t remove the U.S. dictionary from the “Enabled…” list and the U.S. dictionary would always come back as the selected default after restarting Word. This time, I removed the U.S. dictionary after I set U.K. as the default, quit Word and restarted and I now have U.K. as my default dictionary for all MS Office products. It puts the U.S. dictionary back in the “Enabled…” list but it now keeps U.K. as the default.

    So I must thank you all for your help and apologise for wasting your time. It seems there was something wrong with my previous installation that only manifested itself in the language settings. So thanks again guys, I really appreciated the help which obviously, was all good because it worked in the end…:)


  88. Its strange. Im sure we shared the same problem, however for me it is resolved permanently. Now every document I open uses the language I set as default.

    Only thing I noticed is the check box that says ‘detect language automatically’. Try to uncheck this box.

    If I find something else I’ll post it.

  89. John,

    Thanks for that but once again, with a brand new document, it remained the U.S. dictionary. And same as before, as soon as I typed a character (a space this time) it allowed me to change it.


  90. No worries

  91. on February 3, 2008 at 12:54 am john wrote:


    I had the same problem. Try this.

    Open your word document. Click on ‘review’ tab. Near the top left click the ’set language’ button. Highlight the language you want to use and click the ‘default’ button. Click ‘yes’, click ‘done’.

    Hope this helps.

    Thanks john,

    This worked for me, this problem has been driving me nuts for a few days now.

    Regards Al

  92. Ted,

    I had the same problem. Try this.

    Open your word document. Click on ‘review’ tab. Near the top left click the ‘set language’ button. Highlight the language you want to use and click the ‘default’ button. Click ‘yes’, click ‘done’.

    Hope this helps.

  93. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Yes, I’ve tried that a number of times and when I go back in there to check, it says the default dictionary IS U.k. But as I said, every new document still has the U.S. dictionary selected as default. I’ve even tried removing the U.S. dictionary, but that didn’t work either.

    I think that what I have is a “normal” template problem. Trouble is that if I haven’t typed anything and the cursur is still at the very start of the document and I try to change the dictionary, it won’t change and stubornly remains set with the U.S. dictionary. Type one character, even a space and I can change it. Delete that character and it reverts to the U.S. dictionary.

    Now I could type a space, change the dictionary and overwrite my normal template, but I don’t really want every new document to start with a blank line or character.

    Weird and strange it what it is…


  94. Liz Jamieson says

    Hi Ted

    If none of the above have had the desired effect, please do the following.

    1) Open up Word 2007
    2) Click on the top left Office Button (the multi-coloured circular button in the top left corner)
    3) At the bottom of the window that pops out, click on the Word Options button
    4) Click on Proofing in the menu on the left hand side
    5) Click the Custom Dictionaries button
    6) Change the dictionary language to English (United Kingdom) or whatever you want.
    7) Click on OK

  95. Hi,

    I’ve tried all these things for Word 2007 but every new document has the U.S. dictionary set as the default. Not only that, but I can’t change it to a real dictionary until I’ve typed something. A single letter is enough, but if I delete everything back to the very start of the document, it changes itself back to a U.S. dictionary.

    Curious thing is that when I check the default dictionary, it says it’s U.K….


  96. Liz Jamieson says

    Hi Paul . . .

    Try this . . . when you start to edit a document that typically flips back to US English

    1) Open up Word 2007
    2) Click on the top left Office Button (the multi-coloured circular button in the top left corner)
    3) At the bottom of the window that pops out, click on the Word Options button
    4) At the next window, click on the Language Settings button
    5) Next, highlight English (United States) in the enabled editing languages box and click the remove button
    6) Click on OK, and then again.

    Did that succeed in removing the US spell checking problem?


  97. Have done that but cannot remove completely US English. It sometimes switches to US English even when spellchecking docs which have been set to UK English. Grrrr.

    Those yanks…


  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by richardarnatt: @aleksk if you’re using Word 2007, this might help: Or you could use OpenOffice :P…

  2. Windows News Blog Archive says:

    […] read this article which addresses how to set the default dictionary on Microsoft Word 2003. …… Big Satchurday […]