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I am regularly conversing with people in several countries, about half of which speak English, and the other ones French.

So for half the emails I compose, I need to manually switch the language for spell check.

Is it possible to define a preference language linked to a contact, so that when I create a new message Outlook knows automatically in which language it should do the spell check ?

I am using Outlook 2010.

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Have you tried adding a new shortcut to the...good lord...I forgot what its called because its been around for so many years. I hope you know what I am talking about... – Ramhound Jun 11 '14 at 11:33
I was thinking of Ribbon its to early in the morning. – Ramhound Jun 11 '14 at 11:47
Please explain what you've tried so far, you've already wasted CharlieRB's time. Edit your post. -1. – Dave Jun 11 '14 at 12:55
Follow-up after working with altered settings for about a day : by simply changing my default message language from French to English, and keeping the language auto-detection on, it works much better now. English messages are spell-checked in English, and for French messages, Outlook is able to detect they are in French after typing one or two sentences. – Christophe Franco Jun 12 '14 at 10:02
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I haven't been able to find anything about language selection by a specific contact, but there are options for automatic language recognition which may help.

There are two automatic language features that make it easier to switch between languages when typing and editing text in more than one language: Detect language automatically and Automatically switch keyboard to match language of surrounding text.

Detect languages in Word or Outlook

  1. Open a new document or email message.
  2. On the Review tab, in the Language group, click Language.
  3. Click Set Proofing Language.
  4. In the Language dialog box, select the Detect language automatically check box.
  5. Review the languages shown above the double line in the Mark selected text as list. Office can only detect those languages listed above the double line. If the languages that you use are not shown above the double line, you must enable the editing language (turn on the language-specific options) to have Office automatically detect them.

Source - Turn on automatic language options

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That's exactly the settings I am currently using, but it doesn't do any good in my situation. I have both French and English above the double line (and only these two languages), and the automatic language detection is on, but Outlook simply fails at recognizing if my message is French or English. Maybe what I'll do is set the main language to English, since I'm more likely to make mistakes in English than in French (my mother tongue) – Christophe Franco Jun 11 '14 at 12:47
Sorry. To avoid offering solutions already tried, is why it would have been good to include that information in the question to begin with. – CharlieRB Jun 11 '14 at 12:50
In fact, I didn't even realize that Outlook was supposed to be able to automatically detect the message language, until I saw your answer. That's when I checked my settings after reading your solution that I saw I was already running Outlook with the language auto-detection switched on. The fact is, it's clearly the way it should be working, so my real problem is to find out why it fails at recognizing the language in my emails (idea : maybe the large amount of French text in my signature misleads Outlook into thinking the messages are all in French ?...) – Christophe Franco Jun 11 '14 at 13:19

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