I moved from the U.S. to Canada, and I'm changing my Mac to spell check in Canadian English instead of American. I went to System Preferences > Language & Text > Text > Spelling, and changed the setting to "Canadian English." Most applications (such as Mail & TextEdit) now use Canadian spellings. But Word and Pages still use American English -- they tell me that colour, favourite, neighbourhood, etc. are misspelled. How do I get Word and Pages to default to Canadian English?

With Word, I can change the document's language with Tools > Language. But I have to do that for every document.

I've logged out of my account and rebooted. That doesn't help.

The versions I'm running are:

  • Word for Mac 2011 (14.1.4)
  • Pages '09, version 4.1 (923)
  • MacOS X version 10.6.8

Update: Based on Daniel Beck's answer for Pages, I was able to figure out how to change the language in Word. I had to edit Normal.dotm and change the language there. Here are the steps:

  1. Open Word
  2. Using File > Open, open ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates/Normal.dotm. (Double-clicking in the Finder doesn't work; you have to use File > Open.)
  3. Command-A to select all text
  4. Use Tools > Language to change the language to Canadian English.
  5. Save Normal.dotm

Now new Word documents use Canadian English.

  • 1
    Does it only happen with existing documents, or also with newly created documents?
    – Daniel Beck
    Jan 4, 2012 at 20:58
  • It happens with newly-created documents.
    – Evan
    Jan 4, 2012 at 21:24

1 Answer 1


Pages uses the system languages to determine the default spell-checking language in new documents. You need to set this to Canadian English, then new documents will use Canadian English as spell-checking language by default.

enter image description here

(Screenshot is OS X Lion)

Alternatively, if you require more flexibility and only use a small number of templates by default (e.g. the Blank templates), you can create new documents based on them and set their spell-checking language in the document inspector (after selecting all text).

enter image description here

Then select File » Save as Template… and name it e.g. Canadian English Blank. From then on, the template will be available from the template chooser. Pages will remember the template category selected when you created a new document previously, so you don't even need to click My Templates all the time.

enter image description here

  • @Evan You're welcome. I don't have Word, so I can't help you with that, unfortunately. Consider splitting the question in two so others can answer the other part.
    – Daniel Beck
    Jan 4, 2012 at 23:05

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