News & tips
InDesign spell check works differently from the other spell checkers.
InDesign is primarily a publishing tool.
InDesign assumes that by the time text hits it, the text has been proofread and that it won’t contain misspelt words.
Of course, this isn’t how the world works.
Last-minute changes and edits are asked for and need to be correct.
InDesign can spell check your text, but as standard, InDesign doesn’t have it enabled.
Let’s take a look at the options that InDesign offers:
Dynamic spelling is the InDesign term for spell check as we are used to in Microsoft Word or our email.
Dynamic Spelling will add the red squiggly line under any words that it believes are misspelt. It will add a green squiggly line under words where it believes there is a grammar problem.
The default option in InDesign is for it to be turned off, but getting it on is super simple.
If you right-click on a misspelt word, you get a list of suggestions for how InDesign thinks that you should spell the word, as well as the standard options that you will be used to seeing from Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
If you would like to learn more, dynamic spelling is covered in our InDesign courses for begnners.
Spell check in InDesign is a one time check through your document.
You can do a spell check whether Dynamic Spelling is on or off.
To run a spell check:
Alternatively, you can press CTRL + i on your computer, and it will bring up the same dialogue.
Looking at the Check Spelling dialogue box, you will notice all the options you generally see in any Spell checker.
You’ll see a list of words that InDesign believes are misspelt, along with suggested options for what the word might be.
To change a word, click on the suggestion that you believe is correct.
If you are using an unusual word that InDesign doesn’t recognise, there are three slightly different options.
When you’ve finished, click “Done” to close the dialogue.
InDesign allows you to set the language that it uses for spell checking.
It will be “colour” or “color”, depending on if you are writing for a UK or a US audience.
There are many other linguistic differences across the world between countries and between different professions ( for example, medical dictionaries).
For example, imagine writing for a UK audience, but as a one-off, you are asked to prepare something for a US audience.
You can change the language of your document very quickly.
InDesign includes a feature called User Dictionary, where you can import .txt files of Word Lists into InDesign as a dictionary.
For example, you can import lists of specialist engineering or medical words to the dictionary.
If you’re doing this, you start by opening a text file on NotePad.
There are many pre-existing word lists (such as this one of medical terms: https://www.sgu.edu/blog/medical/medical-terms-abbreviations-and-acronyms/) you can use as a start for a word list.
Creating a company user dictionary that can then be distributed to everyone for companies that use specific terms can save a considerable amount of everyone’s time.
Finally, remember that UK English and US English are two different dictionaries in InDesign. If you use both, you will need to upload your word list to both. A Wordlist won’t automatically upload to both.
InDesign also contains an autocorrect feature.
Autocorrect works the same way as spelling correction on your mobile phone.
It will alter words to what it believes is the correct spelling automatically without reference to you.
Some people find this helpful, others very frustrating.
Click EDIT > SPELLING or press CTRL + I to bring up the spelling dialogue box to access this option.
Don’t let basic mistakes spoil your presentation.
Spell checking in Adobe InDesign is incredibly quick so make sure you spend 5 minutes double-checking your next document.