Using Word 2011 on OS X Mavericks, I frequently produce documents using both English and polytonic Greek (i.e. ancient Greek with accents and breathings, from before the spelling reforms of 1982). Word 2011's spell check treats the Greek as English and incorrectly underlines much of the Greek as misspelled.

Even if I type the Greek in using the Greek keyboard Word still treats the Greek as English. If I manually change the language to Greek (highlight the text; tools -> language -> Greek), the errors go away. I would really like, though, not to have to change every bit of Greek manually, since I tend to go back and forth pretty frequently. Is there any way for Word 2011 to automatically detect text using the Greek alphabet and either ignore the text or use the Greek spell checker?

Essentially I'm looking for a way to produce documents using both English and Greek and have Word check the spelling of the English but not the Greek.


(Should be a comment, really, but too long).

You could do a Find/Replace on your entire text, looking for characters in the relevant Unicode ranges and specifying Greek as the language of the replacement text.


  • Edit->Find->Advanced Find and Replace...
  • click the Replace tab
  • Ensure the full dialog box is visible (there's a down-arrow button at the bottom left to expand the box, changing to an up-arrow button halfway down the left side to reduce the box)
  • Put ([Ͱ-Ͽ,ἀ-῾]) in "Find What" (you might want to reduce this range - personally I find it easier to construct the Find What text in the body of the document, then cut/paste into the dialog)
  • Put \1 in "Replace With"
  • Check "Use Wildcards"
  • With the insertion point in the Replace With box, click Format->Language... and choose Greek. If you check "Do not check spelling or grammar", that formatting should also be applied. However, you cannot apply "Do not check spelling or grammar" without specifying a language.
  • Replace all.

You could probably do something similar to identify non-Greek text if necessary, but I can see there would be problems if you had mixed language non-Greek or also happen to be using Greek characters in Maths formulas etc.

You can record that as a macro if it's useful.

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