Exclude Dictionary

You’ve just sent a freshly edited manuscript back to your client, but you decide to glance through it one last time. Acck! What’s this? “Our company has been highly visible in the pubic arena . . .” How did *that* get through?

It got through because you don’t have an exclude dictionary in Microsoft Word. An exclude dictionary is a spell-check dictionary with words that are spelled correctly but that you want to verify during a spell check. If you’re editing or writing, you *need* one of these. Here’s how to set one up:

1. Create a new document.

2. Type the words (like “pubic”) that you want to include (that is, that you want to *exclude* from the spell-checker’s list of correctly spelled words).

3. Press the “Enter” key after each word, including the last one.

4. Click the “File” menu.

5. Click “Save As.”

6. Navigate to the folder that contains the spell-checker’s main dictionary.

In Windows 95, 98, or Millennium Edition (Me), the folder is C:WindowsApplication DataMicrosoftProof.

In Windows 95, 98, or Me with profiles enabled, or in Windows NT 4.0, the folder is C:WindowsProfilesUsernameApplication DataMicrosoftProof.

In Windows 2000 or XP, the folder is C:Documents and SettingsUsernameApplication DataMicrosoftProof.

On a Macintosh, the folder is probably HD:Microsoft Office 2001[or whatever]:Shared Applications:Proofing Tools or HD:System Folder:Preferences:Microsoft.

If you don’t save the file to the right folder, your exclude dictionary won’t work.

7. In the “Save as type” box, click “Text Only” or “Plain Text.”

8. In the “File name” box, type the name for your exclude dictionary. This should be the same name as your main language dictionary but with an “.exc” extension. For example, the English (United States) dictionary in Word 2000 and 2002 is Mssp3en.lex, so the exclude dictionary should be Mssp3en.exc. (In Word 97, the dictionary is named Mssp2_en.lex.) Make sure “.txt” isn’t appended to the filename extension (you may need to put quotation marks around the filename to be sure).

9. Click “Save.”

10. If the File Conversion dialog box appears, select the options you want to use.

11. Click “OK.”

12. Close the document.

13. Close and then restart Microsoft Word.

The next time you do a spell check, the words in your exclude dictionary will be flagged as misspelled, allowing you to review them and avoid future embarrassment. If the exclude dictionary doesn’t work, see Word’s Help file or go here for possible solutions:


So, gentle reader, what words do *you* think need to be included in an exclude dictionary? theater/theatre? honor/honour? Do you know of other nasty little surprises like “pubic”? Please email your nominations here:

mailto:editor [at symbol] editorium.com

I’ll include them in a future newsletter for all to share.



Ed Nelson (ednelson1@earthlink.net) asked if a “key map” of Microsoft Word’s shortcut key combinations is available somewhere. He wrote, “One of the possible virtues of Word is the capacity to program special keys. I understand, however, that many, many are already assigned to some special function by Microsoft. But I find no source to indicate which keys are already assigned to what.”

After a little research, I found the following information on Microsoft’s Web site. Enjoy!

For PC:


For Macintosh:




Last week I mentioned Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus on CD-ROM. If you don’t need the CD-ROM product but still want to look up words electronically from time to time, you’ll probably like Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary and thesaurus, which you can find here:


Be sure to check out their other free goodies, including word games, a vocabulary builder, and a browser dictionary button.

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