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I'm finishing a thesis and have used Microsoft Word to write it up. My issue is that I quote a lot, often embedded in a sentence; this means that I often have to use square brackets to get rid of capitals or to change the tense of words.

EG: "As Dodgson claimed in his diaries, "[y]esterday was so cold".

The problem is that "esterday" isn't a word so the spellchecker picks it up. Whilst I can just zip through ignoring these words I have no way of knowing whether I've actually misspelt "yesterday", e.g. as "[y]estreday".

I know I can check these words manually but there are a LOT of them and I'm not 100% accurate. Does anyone know of a way of getting the spellchecker to ignore the square brackets so that it 'sees' "yesterday" rather than "[y]esterday", therefore picking up on any misspellings?

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    Unfortunately, no, there's nothing built in to do this. – Raystafarian Aug 1 '13 at 17:19
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WordTips has an article about this exact topic. Unfortunately there is no good answer, but you may wish to invest in a "better spell checker".

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  • Thanks for the link. I suspected there might not be an easy answer to this but the silver lining is that I didn't know about WordTips, which I'm sure will be really useful in the future too. Thanks for replying. – Jessica Sage Aug 2 '13 at 12:31
  • @Jessica, No worries, WordTips is a great resource - in addition to SuperUser of course :) – Adam Aug 2 '13 at 14:25
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You could

  • make a copy of your document,
  • edit the copy, and use “Find and Replace” to delete all square brackets,
  • run Spell Check, and make note of any actual errors that it finds (or have your primary document open in another window, and make the corrections there as you find them in the sanitized copy).
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