Remove Spelling and Grammar from MS Word

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Remove Spelling and Grammar Functionalities in MS Word for Examination Conditions

Something that has come up recently in my day-to-day job is to provide an environment where users are able to use a text editor without any spelling/grammar help. A simple solution in the past has been to create a specific user account that does not have access to the Internet (duh!) and remove access to the MS Office suite – instead users had to use Wordpad for their text editor. Personally, this solution is an adequate, simple but also effective to the original requirement. However, requirements and goalposts continually change in IT – for my example, an exam board is insisting MS Word is the used text editor during examination conditions. We now need to remove spelling and grammar from MS Word itself.

You can easily disable the initial startup settings for users so then when they load MS Word the spelling and grammar functionality is turned off – but shortcut keys, menus and other GUI still allow users to re-enable them once the application has loaded. That’s no good at all!

I came across the following solution below that will not only remove spelling and grammar tools with MS Office, but also stop users from re-enabling them!

 

Requirements

  • Microsoft Domain Network (tested on 2003, 2008 and 2012 functional level)
  • Access to create/edit GPOs on your domain controller
  • Tested on MS Word 2007 and 2010 (have you tried this solution on Word 2013? If so, let me know in the comments section and I will update with your findings!)

 

Stage 1 – Install Your Equivalent Office ADM Template Files

You need these template files to customise the experience within MS Office on your Windows domain. Download and install these files onto your domain controller.

Office 2007: http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=22666

Office 2007 SP2 (there are no SP3 ADM files, but the SP2 ADM worked fine for me on an SP3 install): http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=3795

Office 2010: http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=18968

Office 2013 (untested by me, only ADMX/ADML available): http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=35554

N.B. The 32bit and 64bit admx files are identical.  You only need the different versions if you are intending to use in the future the Office Customization Tool (OCT)

Remember where you store the ADM templates if you intend to use them, as you will need to manually import them in the next stage.

For Server 2008/2012, it is recommended you use the ADMX/ADML files in the subsequent steps – you can however still use ADM files if you have a need to. Move the ADMX and the ADML files for the language required to your central policy store. This is by default C:\windows\sysvol\domain\policies\PolicyDefinitions.

 

Stage 2 – Creating/Editing The Relevant GPO Setting

Now that you have the correct Office ADM(X/L) template ready to import it, it is time to start using it to customise the end user experience!

  1. Open Group Policy Management using the account credentials needed on your domain to edit/create the GPO you want to apply the settings to.
    Group Policy Management Console

    Group Policy Management Console

  2. Expand your forest and browse to where you want to edit/create your GPO.
  3. If you are going to create a new GPO, do it now. Give it an appropriate name and ensure the Link Order is set correctly for your establishment.
  4. Right click the chosen GPO and select ‘Edit’.
    Edit the GPO

    Edit the GPO

  5. Server 2003/2008/2012 ADM Only: Under ‘User Configuration’ – right click ‘Administrative Templates’ and choose ‘Add/Remove Tempates’. Click ‘Add’, browse to the Word ADM template you saved in ‘Stage 1’ earlier, click ‘Open’ then ‘Close’. The new customisable settings should be visible like below.
    Policy Setting List in Server 2003

    Policy Setting List in Server 2003

    Policy Setting List in Server 2008/2012

    Policy Setting List in Server 2008/2012

  6. Server 2008/2012 ADMX/ADML Only: If you have moved theADMX and associated languageADML files correctly to your specified policy store, the settings should be visible under ‘Administrative  Templates’ like below automatically. If not, check the location, ensure you copied over both theADMX andADML files, then reopen this console window.
    Policy Setting List in 2008/2012 - ADMX/L

    Policy Setting List in 2008/2012 – ADMX/L

  7. Expand in the Word 2007 location ‘Word Options – > Proofing
  8. Disable all the settings within this area, including the sub-folder ‘AutoCorrect’.
  9. Browse in Group Policy Object Editor ‘Disable Items in User Interface’ , then browse to ‘Custom’ – then select ‘Disable Commands
  10. Choose enable, and then add the following values:


    2566
    15780
    9056
    6111
    12842
    14453
    4025
    3997
    3958
    790
    2
    3217
    2349
    329
    3219
    2469
    2788
    11323
    7343
    7387
    Note – Each one has to be recorded individually as a separate entry (bit tiresome, I know!)

    Disable Commands

    Disable Commands

  11. Select ‘Disable Shortcut Keys’ and enter the following values:

    118 254 79,12 118,16 118,4

    Note – The last three are recorded on the same value, resulting in 5 records in total for this setting. Include the comma as shown in the screenshot underneath.

    Disable Shortcut Keys

    Disable Shortcut Keys

  12. Close Group Policy Object Editor

 

And that should be it!

So what do those values actually do? The ‘Disable Commands’ removes (or greys out) the GUI elements selected via the codes entered, whilst ‘Disable Shortcut Keys’ does exactly what it says on the tin – disables particular key strokes/combinations.

Below details exactly what each value does:

Commands
2566 – Proofing
9056 – ThesaurusRR
6111 – Translation Pane
12842 – Translation Screen Tip
14453 – English Assistant
4025 – Translate to simplified Chinese
3997 – Translate to traditional Chinese
3958- TCSCTranslator
790 – Set Language
2 – Spelling
3217 – Hide spelling errors
2349 – Tools Spelling Recheck Document
329 – Grammar
3219 – Dictionary
2469 – Tools Grammar Settings
2788 – Tools Options Proofing
11323 – disables the ‘Options’ bar under the Office ‘flower’ button.
7343 – WPRefPane
7387 – Reading Mode Lookup

Shortcut Keys
118 – F7 – Shortcut for spellcheck
84,216 – Alt-T – Legacy Tools Menu
79,12 – Ctr+Shift+O – Opens the research bar
118,16 – Alt +F7
118,4 – Shift+F7

 

As posted in the comments section (thanks CJ!) you can also view other codes available to you to customise further. This download contains files that list the control IDs for built-in controls in all applications that use the Office Fluent user interface: http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=6627

Official MS reference for disabling user interface features of MS Office: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc179143(office.12).aspx#section1

Any comments, queries or suggestions to help improve this post, please just leave a comment below!

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About Author

Luke is a Citrix & Microsoft IT consultant based in the UK. His Citrix qualifications include CCE-V, CCP-N and CCP-M. He also holds an MCSA in Windows Server 2012 and is a certified MCITP on Windows Server 2008. He loves cats but hates spiders and the cold.

18 Comments

  1. Just tested this with Server 2008 R2, Windows 7 clients and Office 2013 – it’s mostly working but not completely.

    The spell check buttons and shortcut keys are disabled, but I can’t seem to disable the background (underline) spell checker.

    Anyone have any ideas ?

  2. Figured it out!

    In Office 2007 there was an admx template setting “Check spelling as you type” which doesn’t exist in the Office 2013 ADMX files.

    Turns out that Office 2010 and 2013 still honour the same registry setting which that template uses even though the newer templates don’t include it.

    So my solution was to follow the steps in this article, then additionally download and install the Office 2007 SP2 ADMX files, then add and disable “Check spelling as you type” from the Office 2007 word options, Proofing section, and it works! Hope this helps someone.

  3. One more comment – in the shortcut keys section 254 is the wrong code to disable ALT-T legacy tools, it should be 84,16.

  4. Pingback: Another Spellcheck/exams thread - Office/Word 2013 disabling Spellcheck/Autocorrect

  5. Carlo Mullen on

    Great article, However I am unable to get the custom commands to work. Am i right in thinking that if they are working correctly that when i go into Options|Proofing that the options should be greyed out?

    I am entering the Custom Commands, into User Configuration|Administrative Templates|Classic Administrative Templates|Microsoft Office Word 2007|Disable Items in User Interface|Custom.

    Any assistance would be much appreciated, thank you

    • Hi Carlo – yes that is the correct location in editing the group policy; the grammar options will not be available once the policies have been correctly applied, or the shortcut keys will not work, depending on what you have applied. Ensure each option you set is on a new line – don’t add all the codes on the same line.

      Try it out on your local computer to ensure you are inputting it correctly – open gpedit.msc on your local computer as an admin, add the ADM template, then set your settings, then try opening MS Word locally and see what happens. Also make sure you have downloaded the correct ADM/ADMX template.

      Obviously another thing I would check is ensure your group policies you have created are actually being applied via the Group Policy Modelling Wizard on your domain controller. You could have another GPO overriding your settings.

  6. is there a way to disable the right click (in word document)…autocorrect…autocorrect options….

  7. what about the right click ability in word? If you right click a word and go to autocorrect…autocorrect options, you are able to re-configure the options?

    any advice would be great!
    CJ

    • Hi Colin,

      What key code specifically was it that helped you, and what version of Microsoft Word do you have installed? I will update the article with this information for others as well.

      Thanks for posting!

  8. I turned off the spell check options first in word-options and then applied the GPO this way it stops the red and blue squiggly line and stops the right click on the word to get the correct words list

  9. i cannot get this to work at all for office 2013 i followed all your steps in creating the GP then deployed to an OU and all spell check options are available.

  10. please disregard. i got it to work after adding the additional registry….

    Action: Create

    Hive: HKEY_CURRENT_USER

    Key Path: Software\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Proofing Tools\1.0\Office

    Value Name: WordSpellingOptions

    Value Type: REG_DWORD

    Value Data: 0

  11. Very useful information, thank you!

    I also disabled the following IDs to block translate, thesaurus and synonyms on right-click:
    20574, 21186, 22095, 12843, 19243, 7021, 2185, 20392, 30475, 16631, 18355

  12. Pingback: [MS Office - 2013] Disabling SpellCheck/Autocorrect Grief - Exams - Word 2013

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