They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

Hitting A Hard Limit in Word 2010

It's an occupational hazard of writing SF/F, I suppose, and doubly so as you include a lot of foreign languages. But for the second time since 1986 I've run up against a hard limit in Microsoft Word -- this time specifically in Word 2010, but I don't suppose it's too different in other versions.

Dialog box comes up and says something about "Too many spelling or grammatical errors..." and that Word was going to turn off both spell check and grammar check.

I am amused that in Googling "exceed limit spell check grammar" the first real hit is for a Microsoft Word 2007 Answer from 14 September 2001:
The reason you're not seeing any wavy underlines is that Word has disabled "Check spelling as you type" and "Check grammar as you type" because you have "too many" of what it considers errors.

This can be a problem in any document that contains a lot of text that is not, strictly speaking, English (or whatever your proofing language is). That could include programming code, technical jargon, slang, unusual names, etc., and the amount Word can keep up with is at least partially dependent on your resources: amount of RAM, free space on your HD, etc.

The best workaround for this problem is to put Word out of its misery [emphasis mine] by telling it not to bother with things that don't need to be spell-checked. You do this by creating a "Do not check spelling or grammar" character style and applying it to text that is always going to be "misspelled." For instructions on doing this, see This will prevent Word from considering the marked text and allow it to do its job on the rest of the text; you should now be able to turn "Check spelling as you type" back on and have it flag only your actual typos
A 2013 comment suggests exactly what I was thinking:
I can't believe Microsoft has not raised the limit before this error happens by now. I am quite sure the limit is the same as it was 10+ years ago, and with today's computers, there is probably no limit required at all. And if there is, it should be at least 10, 50 or even 100 times higher than it currently is.

As it is, this is ridiculously low and shows how long it takes Microsoft to really update its software when it's not pressed by competition. All they do is change the layout and icons enough to look like an update is warranted, so we buy the newer version.

I admit I didn't try it out in 2013, but since the limit has not changed from 2002 (and maybe earlier) to 2010 versions, chances are it's still the same in 2013.

The workarounds described in the answers are a real pain and don't even work well. It is ridiculous that we should have to go through such pains for something that could be so easily fixed by Microsoft, which should have been done 10 years ago.
Pretty much two solutions -- turn off the checking or split the file. In my case I knew that my Research notes had a LOT of Danish and Norwegian, plus jargon that doesn't show up in spell check. So I saved Version 1.06 and then created Version 1.07, deleting all the Research notes and starting a new group.

Naturally that worked.

However, it does remind me that in the interests of everything, I will probably have to soon break the Trilogy file into three separate books.

I had run into this years ago, probably in Word 95, so it didn't totally shock me. Again, it was a research notes file that had gotten rather long in the tooth, so I started a new one.

Spell checker is a very useful tool. I am regularly appalled during Grade-a-thon at the end of the semester than more of my students either have it turned off, ignore it or don't even realize what the squiggly red underlines mean. I do wonder if there are hard limits to the number of words you can Add to Dictionary, because in writing SF/F you can have a LOT of words -- and the current work has a lot of non-American English spellings in it.

However, a quick Googling of "limit to add to dictionary" produced a 2010 Answer for Word 2003 (and others):
There is no size limit. The procedure for fixing this problem is given in .
This is good to know that you can fix a corrupted custom dictionary without necessarily losing all your words. Sometimes good old .TXT files can be damned useful. (grin)

Wow -- two for two! That's probably the most satisfaction I have EVER had in one day of using Microsoft's online resources. Probably because this was more an informational search, I had already implemented my own wordaround for the initial problem, so technically I wasn't dead in the water and desperate for a solution. Remember kids, if you have a problem with a Microsoft product, use Google and not Microsoft's anemic search system. There's a reason why the first version of Microsoft Bing actually used Google to get answers. (evil-grin)

Grammar checker is more of an amusement than a requirement. When I first got the Micron 166MHz Millennia Windows 95/NT/98SE machine (HARTREE) in 1996 and installed Microsoft Word 95 Professional, grammar check imposed a heavy load on the processor, so that Word 95 was sluggish and hesitated -- not features I want in a word processor -- and I quickly turned it off. I still don't use grammar check on Word 95. But I have Word 2003 and 2010 installed on faster machines, running Windows XP and Windows 7, and so far any processing delays haven't been annoying. Not even worth opening the hood, looking at the guts and turning off grammar check.

The wavy blue underlines (used to be green in Word 95) for grammar quibbles are usually ignored -- hence the entertainment value -- but last night I saw a perfectly good phrase that it highlighted. Upon closer examination, I discovered that I had used the phrase twice in the sentence -- most likely distracted in the middle of typing while watching Project Runway: All Stars late at night -- and so it highlighted the duplicate version. The duplication wasn't obvious because the second occurrence came over a line break. Okay, my bad. Good call. You earned your paycheck for the week, grammar check.

And this is why you proofread, kids.

Anyway, hope this is of some help to someone in the future.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal

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