How to Fix It When Outlook Spell Check Is Not Working

Correct your spelling automatically

Provided you have automatic spelling and the grammar checker enabled, Outlook should automatically alert you to any errors in the email messages you create. With Outlook spell check not working, you might overlook a mistake that could be unprofessional or embarrassing. Learn the most common causes of this issue and resolve it quickly.

These fixes apply to Outlook for Microsoft 365, Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, and Outlook 2010.

Macbook with hands using it.
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Causes of Outlook Spell Check Not Working

This handy feature saves you from embarrassing misspelling blunders. What causes Outlook's spell check to misfire, or not work at all? There are a few possible factors that could result in spell check not to work in Outlook.

  • The Automatic Spelling and Grammar feature is off.
  • Incorrect language.
  • A corrupt patch or installation of Outlook.

How to Fix Outlook Spell Check Not Working

When working properly, the Outlook Spelling and Grammar tool notifies you by underlining possible mistakes. This is a sure-fire visual indicator that it is working properly. Troubleshoot likely issues to discover the reason it's not working and fix it.

Restart Outlook after each troubleshooting step to ensure that any changes are applied.

  1. Restart Outlook. After Outlook restarts, make sure the spell check tool works as it should. It's frustrating, but restarting can fix many problems.

  2. Set Outlook Auto Check. Make sure Outlook is set to check your spelling every time you send an email message.

  3. Change the default language in Outlook. A language variation could make it seem as though the spell check tool is not working correctly. As Outlook uses MS Word for composing, you may want to make sure what language it is set to as well. For instance, UK English and US English spell many words slightly differently.

  4. Run Spell Check manually. Enter multiple misspelled words into a new email message, then select Review > Spelling & Grammar to run the Spelling and Grammar check manually. This allows you to see if the spell check is working at all.

  5. Disable Message Ignoring. Check to see if spell check ignores certain parts of your email messages. If Outlook is set to ignore areas in replies and forwarded messages, it may cause the tool to not work. Go to File > Options > Mail and clear the Ignore original message text in reply or forward option under Compose messages, then select OK.

  6. Repair Outlook. If it doesn't work at all, try to repair Outlook. If it works manually, but not automatically, continue the troubleshooting process.

Spell Check Not Working in Outlook.com

There's no built-in spell checker available in the online version of Microsoft Outlook. Instead, use a browser extension like Grammarly, the built-in spell check capabilities of your system, or install a spelling and grammar checking app.

In Windows 8 and later, you can enable system autocorrect options. Go to the PC Settings and search for Autocorrect misspelled words and Highlight misspelled words, then enable both of these.