Spell checker

Updated: 02/07/2022 by Computer Hope
Spell check underlines

A software program or program feature designed to locate misspelled words and notify the user of the misspellings. Depending on the spell checker, the feature may either autocorrect the word or allow the user to select from potential corrections on the misspelled word. The picture is an example of wavy (squiggly) red underlines and how spelling errors in Microsoft Word are displayed. When running a spell check on a document with red color underlines, Word gives suggestions for each misspelled word. The red wavy underline can also be right-clicked to display corrections on the misspelled word.

Although spell checkers have become one of the most commonly used features in many programs, they have also become a hindrance. Some people have become so dependent on spell checkers that their spelling and grammar skills have declined. They have a difficult time writing anything correctly without the help of a computer.

How does a spell checker work?

The spell checker works by comparing every word typed with thousands of correctly spelled words and then uses algorithms to determine the correct spellings. If a word (e.g., a name) is spelled correctly, you can add it to the program's exceptions list so it's not flagged as misspelled.

How to access the spell checker


The F7 is the default shortcut key to start the spell check feature in Word and other programs that have spell checking features.


While spell checkers are a great feature, always proofread what you've written before hitting the send, print, or post button. A word may be spelled correctly but is not the word you intended to use.

Should I use "spellcheck" or "spell check" in my writing?

Although "spell check" is more common than "spellcheck" according to Google Trends, both versions are correct, and what version you use may depend on your style guide.

When used as a noun, you may describe the "spell check" or "spellchecker" feature found in a program. As a verb, you may describe the "spellchecking" process being performed on a document.

Aspell, AutoCorrect, Dictionary, Grammar checker, Proofreading, Thesaurus, Typo, Word processor, Word processor terms