PowerPoint 2016: Checking Spelling and Grammar

Ensuring your PowerPoint presentation is free of spelling and grammar errors is critical for conveying your message clearly and professionally. PowerPoint 2016 provides several useful proofing tools to help you produce polished, error-free slides.

Use Automatic Spell Check

PowerPoint checks spelling automatically as you type, underlining potential errors with red squiggly lines. This real-time feedback allows you to correct mistakes immediately.

To enable automatic spell check:

  1. Go to File > Options > Proofing
  2. Check the box for “Check spelling as you type”

You can right-click on underlined words to see suggested corrections or add words to the dictionary.

Run a Manual Spelling & Grammar Check

Even with automatic checking enabled, it’s wise to run a manual spelling and grammar check before finalizing your presentation.

To run a full check:

  1. Go to the Review tab
  2. Click Spelling & Grammar

The Spelling pane will appear, walking you through each potential error.

Options for flagged words:

  • Correct the word directly on the slide
  • Choose one of the suggested words
  • Click Ignore or Ignore All to skip
  • Click Add to add to dictionary
  • Click Change or Change All to replace

Review all suggestions carefully before applying changes.

Customize Proofing Options

You can customize how PowerPoint handles spell check and grammar check via the File > Options menu.

For example, you can:

  • Turn automatic spell check on/off
  • Enable or disable grammar check
  • Choose whether to check spelling and grammar at the same time
  • Select a different dictionary language
  • Manage custom dictionaries with added words

Adjust these settings based on your preferences and needs.

Work With Multiple Languages

To check spelling and grammar in multiple languages:

  1. Go to Review > Language
  2. Select the desired languages
  3. Click Set as Default to prioritize one language

PowerPoint will check against all enabled languages. This helps ensure accuracy when mixing languages.

Check Accessibility

The accessibility checker identifies areas that may be problematic for people with disabilities. Issues like missing alt text, poor color contrast, and more are flagged.

To run an accessibility check:

  1. Go to Review
  2. Click Check Accessibility
  3. Resolve any listed issues

An accessible presentation is usable by the widest possible audience.

Tips for Avoiding Errors

Here are some top tips for reducing spelling and grammar mistakes in your PowerPoint slides:

  • Proofread manually – Don’t rely 100% on spell check to catch everything. Carefully review each slide.
  • Check context – Review flagged words in the context of the sentence before changing. Spell check often catches names, terminology, etc.
  • Read out loud – Your ears can sometimes catch issues your eyes miss. Reading slides aloud identifies awkward phrasing.
  • Use references – Look up words you’re unsure how to spell. Utilize grammar resources to confirm rules.
  • Check image text – Don’t forget to check text you’ve added directly onto slides as images. This text isn’t checked automatically.
  • Simplify text – Avoid long, complex sentences when possible. Simpler sentences have less room for error.
  • Check accessibility – Running the accessibility checker identifies many common errors.
  • Be consistent – Stick to the same spelling and terminology throughout your presentation. Flip back through previous slides to double check.

Enable AutoCorrect

AutoCorrect in PowerPoint works like it does in Word, automatically fixing common typos and misspellings as you type.

To enable it:

  1. Go to File > Options
  2. Click Proofing
  3. Check the box for “Automatically correct spelling and grammar errors”

You can customize the corrections by adding or removing entries. This saves you from repeatedly fixing the same errors manually.

When to Ignore Spelling Suggestions

PowerPoint’s spell checker is very helpful but not infallible. Occasionally, it will improperly flag words that are spelled correctly. This often happens with:

  • Proper nouns
  • Names
  • Unique terminology
  • Industry or field-specific language

Use caution when ignoring or adding these types of words to the dictionary. Review flagged words carefully based on the context of the sentence before applying changes.


Catching spelling, grammar, and accessibility issues in PowerPoint is critical. Take advantage of built-in proofing tools, but also proofread thoroughly on your own. Customize language and AutoCorrect settings as needed. With attention to detail and proper editing, you can produce perfectly polished presentations in PowerPoint.