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by Edi Taylor-Richards and JB Burke

Q. I recently got a new laptop, which had Microsoft Outlook Express 2007 preloaded. When I went to turn on Spell check, the only language available was French. How can I get it to spell check in English?

A. For whatever reason, Microsoft Outlook Express doesn’t have a spell checker built in. It uses the spell checker engines installed by the Microsoft Office Suite. Outlook Express 2007 requires a dictionary from Office 2007 – dictionaries that came bundled with earlier versions of Office won’t work. (Likewise, earlier versions of Outlook Express require dictionaries from earlier versions of MS Office.)

If you have MS Office 2007 installed, then Outlook Express is pulling the French dictionary from MS Word 2007. Go into MS Word and change the default dictionary from French to English (US).  If you don’t have Office 2007 installed, but you have the Office 2007 disk, install just the proofing tools from Office 2007 (using the custom install option).

If you don’t have Office 2007 installed (perhaps you use Open Office, Star Office, WordPerfect or Lotus SmartSuite), then Outlook Express 2007 won’t be able to spell check at all. In that case, you’ll need to download a dictionary from the Internet. You can get a free US English Language dictionary for Outlook Express 2007 here.  Keep in mind - this installs only the US English dictionary. If you need other languages (such as UK English, French, etc.) then you may also find them online, but they will probably not be free.

Published: Courier 3/1/09 - Page 4C