Word professional 2013 How to set default proofing language

Copper Contributor

I am using Microsoft Office 2013, particularly Microsoft Word. I am having trouble setting the proofing language i.e. Spell Checking to UK English only.

I have tried deleting the English US language but then My keyboard is wrong since I have a US keyboard.

Now I have, under Review / Language / Language Preferences = English (United Kingdom) <Default>

but under Review / Language / Proofing Languages - both English US and English UK are ticked and I can't change or remove so it now accepts both spellings i.e. center and centre - color and colour.

How can I set my Word so US keyboard works, I only have English UK for proofing / Spell check and I dont't have to change it for every document, I have been frustrated by this for weeks now, please assist, thank you

7 Replies



In Windows, you should be able to choose the keyboard layout that you want. Admittedly, this is a lot less transparent in recent versions of the operating system. :(


Do you see an option in Word to automatically change the language so that it matches your keyboard (or vice versa)? In that case, disable the option. For more, see https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/troubleshoot-checking-spelling-and-grammar-in-multiple-la... and http://wordfaqs.ssbarnhill.com/MasterSpellCheck.htm.

@Stefan_BlomI dont know how I got there but I have attached image of proofing languages. somehow I have chinese, US and UK with both UK and US ticked, its doing my head in. Ill check out the links you sent, than



In the Language dialog box, you will always see all languages that are supported in Word. However, a supported language isn't necessarily installed. Each installed language have a check mark next to it (in the dialog box). 


Do post back with the results once you have had a chance to read the articles. :) 

@Stefan_BlomTo be honest, I now find Microsoft Word settings SO convoluted and also dependent on general windows settings. It does so much to predict what you want rather than simply allow you to set what you want.  I am still unaware why in languages / proofing I have 3 languages above the double line including Chinese. I am also unaware why both English uk and English US are both checked with a tick. I also cannot see how I change this. I am provided with a dialogue screen with no apparent way of changing the displayed options. I mean what is so difficult about allowing you to click on and change or toggle a setting.


I have found a solution though - disable spelling and grammar check (that I can do in the word dialogue box) and add the free Grammarly spell/grammar plug in. It is better and much easier to use and maintain than Microsoft's own.



When the default proofing language refuses to change, the underlying cause could be that the display language in Windows is different from the desired default proofing language in Office. I have experienced this myself, and I can only assume that it is a bug of some sort. The workaround is to ensure that the Windows display language matches the language you want to use as the default when proofing text in Word.


The fact that you see more than one "flavor" of English installed at the same time is by design, as far as I know. You seldom (if ever) get only US English, for example.

@Stefan_BlomMy display language is English UK, which is the proofing language I also want to use. My input language is English US which I cannot change since, like most devices my keyboard layout is US. If I change this some keyboard keys display the wrong characters. I just want to tell word 'check my spelling in English UK or don't bother checking at all.' But Word has different Ideas. There is a tickbock there and an option there to do exactly what I want, but Word ignores it and changes it back! I open Review / Language / Set proofing language and disable spelling and grammar check. I click on the tickbox and a tick appears. I click OK. I scroll further down, repeat, and tick box is empty again and spelling / grammar check has re-enabled itself. I save the document and reopen it tick box has deselected itself again. I highlight all the text and click the tickbox and now I get a solid black square. I save, scroll down and tickbox is empty again. Same if I save file and re-open. There is just no logic, no explanation, no instructions. I use Word to save me time but I spend so much time with 'Not responding' errors, restarting because text is not hilighting, re-setting settings I have already set. It is almost as if Word has got too big for Microsoft and they have lost control of all the menus, settings, dot files, dependencies with Windows settings. It is becoming so cumbersome and unreliable. It is a shame because at one time Microsoft Office was the go-to choice and was their flagship.

Hello @cant-sleep ,

I have the same set-up as you. I have a British machine. It came with English UK, and with British keyboard.

I am used to the US keyboard set-up (meaning I know what's under the top row in the US version, but not under the UK version).

To make things complicated, my home machine has US keyboard set-up, Czech display language (that I occasionally change to Spanish), English UK language as the proofing and default language for my documents.

You need to do two things that are unrelated:

1. Change the keyboard set up. That's not a Word issue, that's Windows issue.

2. Set up your proofing language in Word. That's a Word issue covered here.


Please note these are unrelated. If I change my display language to Spanish (change Windows to Spanish version), my keyboard will still have the US setup, and my default proofing language in Word will still be English UK.

I used this true example to illustrate that these two are unrelated and need to be addressed separatelly.


Switching off spelling will do you no good. You need to do the correct thing. I hope this helps.