Why Outlook Spelling Check and AutoCorrect Options are Greyed Out and How To Fix It?

My Outlook 2010′s Spelling Check Options (called Proofing in Outlook 2010), as well as AutoCorrect Options were all greyed out, so I don’t get the usual correct as you type feature as I usually get on my other computers. Only the basic ones, like Always checks spelling before sending, are still available. What’s going on?

Outlook Spelling Check options

Turned out, that’s because I have a mixed Microsoft Office versions installed, running Outlook 2010 alone while Word is still on 2007. The features like Spelling Check and AutoCorrect in Outlook are integrated tightly with the same version of Word. So when Outlook couldn’t find a working copy of Word application, it greys out these features.

Each version of Office is installed in a number-based sub-directory under the main Microsoft Office folder. For example, my Office 2007 is installed in Office12 folder while my Outlook 2010 is installed in Office14 folder, both under Microsoft Office folder. When my Outlook 2010 launches, it looks for the Word executable file WinWord.exe in the same directory. If nothing found, it then disables all Word-depended features like Spelling Check.

So, based on this observation, the workaround to get around this issue was easy:

Copy the WINWORD.exe file from Office12 folder to Office14 folder, and restart Outlook.

The result? All previously greyed out Spelling Check and AutoCorrect Options features became available again.

Outlook Spelling Check options - Available

A few final words

The workaround works well in a mixed installation of Office 2007 and Outlook 2010 but I haven’t tested in other combinations. It most likely will still work if the versions are not set too apart. Let us know what works for you.

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  3. [How To Fix] Error Opening Attachments in Outlook 2007, 2010 in Windows 7
  4. 2 Tools to Get Classic Menu and Toolbars back in Microsoft Office 2007/2010 Ribbon
  5. How To Retrieve The Blocked Content in Outlook
  • Mariangel

    I applied it with Outlook 2013 and Word 2010. It worked perfectly !!

    Thank you so much!

  • Brian

    Your suggestion and workaround was right on! It worked for me perfectly (and that’s coming from someone who is not a techy)! My configuration was just like Mariangel below… Outlook 2013 and Word 2010. Thanks again!

  • Shane

    Thanks, it works with Word 2003 and Outlook 2010 too

  • Bob

    Really helpful for Outlook 2013 & Word 2010

  • Victor

    Thank you! Worked for outlook 2013 with office 2007.

  • mary

    That worked perfectly. Thanks!

  • Ben

    hi, i have office 2010 & outlook 2013. i don’t have or can’t find an office 12 file, but i do have an office 14 & office 15 files. i copied the winword.exe file from 14 to 15 and restarted outlook but this didn’t work. any suggestions?


  • Caledonian

    Brilliant solution. Using that methodology, I managed to access the options on a machine running Outlook 2007 and Word 2003 – so that it works with mixed install. Bravo – because other sites suggest installing a ‘compatible’ version of Word. No need!

  • Chris

    SOOOO HELPFUL! Thank you!!!

  • Dianna

    Awesome solution! Worked like a charm for me with Outlook 2010 & Word 2007. Thanks!

  • Phil

    I have Outlook 2013 and Word 2010. I copied as described but can’t get mine to work. I restarted computer as well. Any ideas?

    • Merle

      I also have Outlook 2013 and Word 2010. It took me a while to find the right folder to put the winword.exe file because I had multiple folders labeled Office 15. Here’s the one that worked:
      Program Files > Microsoft Office 15 > root > office15 because this is the one where outlook.exe was located. Hope that helps you!

      • Phil

        That worked! I had it in Program Files > Microsoft Office 15. Didn’t know about the subdirectories.

  • xpanmanx

    Worked great for me with Office 2013 (less Outlook) and Outlook 2010 (less everything else).

  • N.7.1.G

    This worked on some of my client machines, but one of my clients does not have the WINWORD.exe in her Office12 folder. Rather, she has only the WINWORD application file itself. This is also the case in the Office 2014 folder. However, spell check is still unavailable in Outlook 2013. Help?

    • http://about.me/kentchen Kent Chen

      Maybe it’s the 64-bit version of office that is installed in “program files” folder?

      if not, i would check if Word application is installed properly first.

  • Stretchr

    Worked like a charm. Thank you!