After a long break to move, the Tips are back!
If you install Office 2007, spell checking in Outlook Express may not work as expected, unless you want spell check in French. :) This is because Office 2007 uses new proofing tools and OE can't use them because it's designed to use the older tools.
It's easy to fix: install just the proofing tools from your previous version of Office (using the custom install option). You can get them from any older Office suite or application – including FrontPage, Publisher or standalone versions of Word, Excel, or Outlook.
To install just the proofing tools from Office 2003, run Office setup and choose the custom option. Uncheck all programs in the list and add a check to choose the options at the bottom of the programs list. No the nest screen, set each top level item to be Not Available (red X icon). Expand the Office Shared Features branch and locate Proofing tools in the list. Expand proofing tools and choose English, setting it to Run from my computer. Finish the installation.
Once installed, restart OE – go to Tools, Options and verify Spelling is configured to use the correct English dictionary.
Tip 380: Proofing Tools, Part 2
Some workarounds run afoul of the law of unintended consequences.
Yesterday's tip about installing the proofing tools is one of those workarounds – after you install the proofing tools from an earlier version of Office then try to install an add-in under the Genuine Advantage program, the proofing tools may cause the add-in installation to fail because it's not activated. If it's a must-have add-in, either install the proofing tools from Office 2000 (no activation required), a 3rd party spell check program or uninstall the proofing tools, install the add-in then reinstall the proofing tools.
While it's annoying (ok, it sucks!), many users may never have a problem, as they won't install add-ins. For example, I've been using Office 2003's proofing tools in OE for several months, but only discovered these issues week, after I got a new laptop for Christmas and tried to install the calendar printing assistant (Tip 376: Outlook 2007: Calendar Printing Assistant) to check for a problem a user reported.
Also note that if you install the proofing tools after installing Office 2007, you should run Office diagnostics, just to be safe. I ran into 2 minor issues if the Office 2007 install is not repaired: the Start menu icon does not work as expected and templates may not open if you double click on them in Windows Explorer. There may be more…
Windows update will probably want to install updates for the older version of Office. These can safely be refused since you only have the proofing tools installed, but the update service doesn't know this; like Genuine Advantage, it only knows you have something from that version installed.
At some point in the future, Microsoft may or may not release a standalone installation of the proofing tools to fix this issue, until then, there are a number of 3rd party spelling tools available, such as OE2.1 Spell checker if you don't want the hassle.
Published December 28, 2006. Last updated on April 22, 2016.