Microsoft Word: Make an Exclusion Dictionary

 Nov 03, 2015

Previously, we’ve talked about adding extra words to a ‘custom dictionary’ so that the spellchecker of Microsoft Word marks them as correct. But what about when you are writing and want Word to mark certain words as incorrect? This happens to me when I do freelance writing for an American company. While Word will mark ‘armour’ as incorrect when I am using an American English dictionary, the program won’t mark ‘towards’, ’amongst’, or other words that Americans don’t use, and would look funny to them, like ‘grey’ or ‘yoghurt’.

The solution is to create an Exclusion Dictionary which means those words will get marked as incorrect, regardless of whether or not they appear in Word’s main dictionary.

1. Create the list of words

To start with, create a list in Word on another text editor of each of the words you want marked as incorrect on a separate line. I recommend having those words lower case so that they match what is in Word’s main dictionary.

Here’s a link to a good list of the differences between American English and International English.

2. Find the Exclusion Dictionary

Word should have already have the exclusion dictionary file on your hard drive, the trick may be finding it. Open Windows Explorer and go to this folder


Here you need to replace the word user with the username you logged onto the computer with.

Note: You may also turn on the option to see the hidden files on your computer.

To do this, in Windows Explorer tap the Alt key to bring up the file menu.

Then go Tools – File Options… and then click on the View tab


And then choose the option, Show hidden files, folders, and drives

This will allow you to see the Appdata folder, if you can’t see it already.

This is where the custom dictionary and the exclusion dictionaries are stored.


There is an exclusion dictionary for each language installed for MS Office.

  • The one for English – Australia is: ExcludeDictionaryEN0C09.lex
  • The one for English – United States is: ExcludeDictionaryEN0409.lex

If you are using another language, the file will have a different 4 letter code on the end of it.

Right click on the appropriate file and choose Open with… choose Select a program from a list of installed programs and then OK then choose Notepad and then OK


Now copy and paste in the list of words that you want to have Word mark as incorrect and save the file with the same name.

Remember: You must restart Word before changes will take effect.

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About the Author:

Matthew Goodall  

Matthew is a qualified Microsoft Office Specialist, Microsoft Certified Applications Specialist and a Microsoft Certified Trainer with over 11 years of hands-on experience in a training facilitation role. He is one of New Horizons most dynamic instructors who consistently receives high feedback scores from students. Matt enjoys helping students achieve real professional and personal growth through the courses he delivers. He is best known for creating “fans” of students, who regularly request him as an instructor for any future courses they undertake at New Horizons.

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