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!
- 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 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 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!
- Open Group Policy Management using the account credentials needed on your domain to edit/create the GPO you want to apply the settings to.
- Expand your forest and browse to where you want to edit/create your GPO.
- 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.
- Right click the chosen GPO and select ‘Edit’.
- 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.
- 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.
- Expand in the Word 2007 location ‘Word Options – > Proofing’
- Disable all the settings within this area, including the sub-folder ‘AutoCorrect’.
- Browse in Group Policy Object Editor ‘Disable Items in User Interface’ , then browse to ‘Custom’ – then select ‘Disable Commands’
- Choose enable, and then add the following values:
7387 Note – Each one has to be recorded individually as a separate entry (bit tiresome, I know!)
- 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.
- 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:
2566 – Proofing
9056 – ThesaurusRR
6111 – Translation Pane
12842 – Translation Screen Tip
14453 – English Assistant
4025 – Translate to simplified Chinese
3997 – Translate to traditional Chinese
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
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!