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Spell Check in Outlook 2010 not working?

Posted: Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 by Ted

We recently ran across an issue with one of our customers who upgraded only Outlook to 2010 while keeping the rest of Office at 2007. They called in stating that Outlook’s spell checker wasn’t working anymore so Kevin found the fix:

When users upgrade just Outlook, not the whole Office Suite, it doesn’t know where to look for Word as its editor, since it is also looking for Word 2010. This means the auto correct features won’t work. Here is the fix:

All you have to do is copy winword.exe to the office14 folder.


Copy Winword.exe from here C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\


C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14

Make sure that you copy, not move the file or there could be other issues that you’ll run across but this will do the trick!

69 Responses to “Spell Check in Outlook 2010 not working?”

  1. Vas says:

    You’re a genius .. nobody knows this … i think even Microsoft haven’t provided this workaround. Thank you….from a ‘not so good speller’ 🙂

  2. Michele says:

    I just did a search for winword in Microsoft Office|Office 12. There’s no winword.exe!!!!
    I also did a search for winword in Programs. Still no winword.exe.
    I even did a search for winword in the whole C drive. No winword.exe.
    I’ve actually looked for winword.exe before and have never found it.
    What opens word docs in my copy of Office 2010 is: Microsoft Office Client Virtualization Handler!!!!!

    The Outlook 2010 feature “When Correcting Spelling in Outlook” used to mark improper spelling while typing the email and capitalized the first word in each sentence while typing. The feature stopped working and nothing I’ve done has fixed it, including new profiles, uninstalling and reinstalling “Outlook 2010.” An MS MVP said the Outlook must come from the same CD for this to work.

  3. Michele says:

    That should read: An MS MVP said that Outlook 2010 and Office 2010 must come from the same CD for this feature to work.

  4. Ted says:

    I just helped someone with this yesterday and it worked like a charm. They were using Outlook 2010 and the rest of their Office suite was 2007. I was able to get into their Office12 folder and copy (not move) the winword.exe file into the office14 folder.

    Rather than search for winword.exe, try browsing to the folder C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\ and find winword.exe, right-click copy then go to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\ and right-click paste.

  5. pb says:

    this also works for word2003 with outlook2010 🙂 good fix

  6. Bob says:

    THANK YOU for this solution.

    Here is the crazy thing…

    I am running Mac Office Word (2011) but deleted Mac Office Outlook because I hated it. So, I am running the standalone MS Office 2010 in Parallels 6. But like you all, I discovered that the Outlook editing is grayed out.

    The program for Word in Mac is microsoft word.app rather than winword.exe. On the off chance that copying microsoft word.app into Office/14.0 folder would work, I gave it a shot.

    Believe it or not, IT DOES WORK and I can now choose my editing options in MS Office 2010 standalone…running in Parallels…on a Mac running Mac Word.

    Weird, but I am not arguing!!!

  7. Chris says:

    Installed Outlook 2010 on top of Office 2007 had the same problem with “check spelling as you type”. Copied the winword.exe into the office 14 folder and it worked like a dream

  8. SharkBarf says:

    Worked perfect. This was almost a deal-breaker for me. THANK YOU!!!

    Note: If you’re on a 64-bit machine (as I am), look in “Program Files (x86)”

  9. mark says:

    My situation:
    Word spell check worked, Outlook 2010 spell check did not (64 bit). Tried everything, regedit, new profiles, repairs etc – nothing worked. Was about to give up when I tried changing the Language setting, via Outlook Options, from English Australian to English (US), and spellcheck turned on for the first time since installing 2010. Word2010 is still set as English Australian and works. Maybe Outlook 2010 64 bit does not like Eng/Aus Spell check? Anyway ..
    Thought I Would publish this in case someone else had same problem. Maybe it is a 64bit issue?
    It is now fixed.


  10. oliver says:

    When nothing works:

    The default registry (where word looks what dictionary to use) can be overriden (happened in my case)
    Click start in bottom left screen
    Type Run [enter]
    Type regedit [enter]
    locate HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Proofing Tools\1.0\override
    Right click on theat override folder
    Click delete
    Exit regedit (close from top right corner X)

    Start word

  11. Bill says:

    I upgreaded 2010 over 2003 and had the spell check issue in all of the Office products, I made two registry changes, the one noted here and removing the 1.0. After the removing Override, the spell check worked in Word only, after teh nenxt one it worked in everything but Outlook 2010.

    If I bring Outlook 2010 up in safe mode, the spell check works, and even if I disable all add-ins, it still fails to work in anything but safe mode.

    Any idea’s where I should look next.

    I have used the repair and removed and reinstalled, same thing.


  12. Jim says:

    Worked like a charm! Thanks so much.

  13. Alcatraz80 says:

    To those above stating that you don’t have a winword.exe file in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office 12, it is likely that you need to do the opposite, meaning:

    Copy C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office 14 – winword.exe to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office 12.

    This will be the case if you have Office 2010 and Outlook 2007.

  14. Mike says:

    That fixed my problem! Thank you!!!

  15. George says:

    Thanks, worked after restarting outlook 2010

  16. Joy says:

    I’ve put Outlook 2010 on and have Word 2002. I’ve copied the file from Word 10 to Word 14, but spell check and such does still not work in Outlook – any ideas?

  17. I am running Outlook 2010 with Office 2007. I copied winword.exe, which did open up the spellcheck options, but it still did not make everything work properly. I tried the registry hack, but that also did not work. When I restored the backup of my registry, I looked at the values under Override, and I found that my computer was missing the files referenced for both the DLL (MSSPELL3.DLL) and LEX (MSSP3EN.LEX) from C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\PROOF\. I have Office 97 with Outlook 2000 running on another computer, and was able to copy those files from there with success.

  18. Update to my earlier post, as it left me with only the spellcheck working in either Word 2007 or Outlook 2010, depending upon if I had the Override key in the registry. I did find that if I left the Override key, and it’s immediate sub key, en-US, but removed the subkeys of en-US, spell check worked in both.

  19. Mitesh says:

    Thank you very much , Its Working like charm. Folks Please Log out from windows and do re login to see your changes ..

  20. Ted says:

    Joy: I can’t say for sure, but it could be that the version of Word you’re using is too old to support this functionality.

  21. Jason says:

    Worked liked a charm! Thank you so much!

  22. Tyler says:

    What about grammar checking? I see where it auto-corrects spelling errors, but not grammar. I’ve checked the option for “Mark grammar errors as you type” and “Check grammar with spelling”. I get no green flags when i use incorrect grammar. Any help would be appreciated.

  23. Lynda Davies says:

    Wow! I am technology challenged, but this advise worked like a dream and was not difficult to understand…Thanks soooooo much to everyone who posted the advise…Bless you ♥♥♥

  24. Partik says:

    Worked!. Thank you..

  25. Doofus says:

    Thumbs up! Worked with Word 2003. Just had to restart Outlook.

  26. Erich says:

    The solution that demonstrates a bug is at play here:

    – Create a new text document in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office 14 (and if you have 64-bit Office, C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office 14)

    – Rename this blank, 0kb text document to “winword.exe”

    – Restart Outlook

    Tada! You now have spell checking!

  27. El Salsa says:


  28. Fabrice says:

    Really great fix !

    Works also with a French version…

  29. Dirk says:

    I have Office 2007 and upgraded to Outlook 2010 standalone and had the same problem with the spell check.

    The solution mentioned at the top worked perfectly and was easy to do

    Thank you very much!!!!!!

  30. Karen says:

    Worked like a charm. Used the winword.exe from Office 14 to Office 12. 64-bit user so had to look in Program Files(x86). Had to restart Outlook. Thanks.

  31. fosterman007 says:

    Ted’s suggestion worked great in Outlook 2011. Thank you!

  32. DAVE says:

    Ditto- pefect work around.
    You need a job at Microsoft.

  33. hosted exchange service says:

    I upgreaded 2010 over 2003 and had the spell check issue in all of the Office products, I made two registry changes, the one noted here and removing the 1.0. After the removing Override, the spell check worked in Word only, after teh nenxt one it worked in everything but Outlook 2010.

  34. Alina says:

    THANK YOU thank you thank you!!! You saved our lives! Your solution worked perfectly.

  35. kevin says:

    great, it works

  36. Noelle says:

    I am on Windows XP with an upgrade from Office 2003 to Office2010 and had the spellcheck problems. I followed ALL pieces of advice (the winword.exe, the HKEY_Current_User, and the English Australian to English US switch) and I now have a functioning Spell Check. Thanks everyone!!!!! Most helpful AND I can feel confident I’m not emailing out a spelling disgrace in my emails!

  37. Steve02476 says:

    Just wanted to say that Oliver’s tip above (April 28, 2011) worked for me! I had Office 2010, autocorrect had been working ok in Word but not in Outlook. I already had winword.exe in my office 14 folder. After doing the REGEDIT thing I now have autocorrect in Outlook. Thanks Oliver!

  38. pavel says:

    Thanks, for good idea.
    Issues solved.

  39. Dig says:

    My Outlook has spellcheck issues as well, but only in part of the e-mail.

    It will properly check and find misspelled words in the bulk of the e-mail but will flat out miss other errors, most of the time in the last paragraph of the e-mail. In addition, even though I have “ignore original e-mail” checked, it will always check the prior e-mail, even to the point it checks e-mail addresses, names, etc. When I copy and paste to Word to check for spelling errors, Word passes over the same errors and will not find them. On critical documents, after going cross-eyed looking for typos, I am forced to copy and paste the text into an Adobe publisher, find the miscues, and copy back to Outlook.

    I tried the winword.exe, no change, the regedit did not fly as I do not have an “override” file in the stated directory.


  40. Sphoorti says:

    Thank you so much for this!! It totally worked!!!

  41. F. Tri Yunianto says:

    Thank u very much, all everything clear …. you are smart.

  42. jeffrey says:

    Thank you for this solution. MS advise to buy the full package.

  43. Casey says:

    I have had three technicians look at my computer to solve this issue.
    You are a genius!

  44. Sachin Kumar says:

    Great, thanks a ton, only you have the correct answer. Once again thanks for this post.

  45. Dman says:


    I did as the original post stated, copying winword.exe from 12 to the 14 folder and it does work.

  46. yelhsa says:

    Thank you!! Now I don’t have to constantly correct THank! I even had an Auto Correct Coption set to correct that exact mispelling and it still wouldn’t correct.

    I copied the winword.exe from Program Files(x86) to the regular ProgramFiles folder and it worked!!

    I’m not sure why it is in one and not the other…. work computer….

  47. Greg says:

    This problem has been bugging me for a year. So glad I finally found this answer. Worked like a charm – thanks!

  48. DJ says:

    Please try below, worked for me.

    Open new email, go to review tab.

    Drop Down Language and Select Proofing Language.

    In the pop up window select language you are using and check second last option in the bottome of screen that
    “Do Not Check Spelling or Grammer” is not selected.

  49. Dave says:

    Genius & so simple!!!

  50. Prem M says:

    Thank you, it works. I upgraded Outlook 2003 with 2010.

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