Restoring the old Spellcheck Dialog in Microsoft Word 2013

For years now, I've steadfastly clung to Microsoft Office 2007 for a number of reasons. Recently, I found myself with the opportunity to upgrade to a modern version. For the most part, things work the way that they should, with one exception that is a complete showstopper.

In Microsoft Word 2013 (and I believe 2016, but I haven't confirmed this myself), the spellchecker dialog box has gone stupid. Where once you were able to perform a host of actions (most importantly, "ignore rule") using keyboard shortcuts (alt+g for example), you can now only select change/ignore, and keyboard shortcuts are hit and miss. After poking around, and learning a few things, I was able to bring back the spellcheck dialog of old that we all know and love. Below, I will walk you through how to fix this massive problem. There are a few sources that set me on the right path, mainly this Microsoft Community post that showed that it was possible to find it using VBA, this support article that shows how to remap keyboard shortcuts, and MSDN for the VBA reference. If you don't understand/care about that stuff, read on.

Create a module in word:

  1. Open Word (any document is fine).
  2. Press alt+F11 to open up the "Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications" editor.
  3. On the left of the screen, right-click "normal" and select Insert > Module (you may have to use NVDA's screen review function or the Jaws curser to find it).
  4. Paste the following text into the code window of the module you just created (that module will probably be called "Module 1," select it in the list on the left).

    Sub ShowOldSpellcheckDialog()

    If Dialogs(wdDialogToolsSpellingAndGrammar).Show = -1 Then

    MsgBox "Spelling and grammar check complete!"

    End If

    End Sub

Map F7 to the new module:

  1. Open the options dialog under the file menu (shortcut: alt+f, t).
  2. Go to the "Customize Ribbon" tab and select the "Customize..." button.
  3. In the categories list, select "Review Tab," and then select "ToolsProofing" in the commands list.
  4. In the Current Keys box, you should see "F7." Go to the remove button and activate it.
  5. In the categories list, now select "Macros," and select "ShowOldSpellcheckDialog." Move over to the Press New Shortcut Key input control, and press "F7."
  6. Close all of the windows by using the "OK" or "Close" buttons. You are done.

As with all technical problems, this solution may not be valid by the time you try it, or it may not work for you (seriously, gremlins). Hopefully, this did work to restore the old spellcheck dialog, and you are now more productive with newer versions of Word.