Changing languages that come with Office

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When you buy Office there are several languages you can use with your documents.

Office has two levels of language support. There’s the language used on the menus, ribbon and dialog (called ‘Language Interface’) and then there are the languages supported in documents by the spell checker, grammar analysis and thesaurus.

In this article we’ll be looking at the document language support. As you’ll see, the languages you get ‘out of the box’ are more generous than you might expect.

Office 2010 everyone gets the English language spell and grammar checking regardless of which language variant you buy. When we say ‘English’ that includes all the global variations – US, UK, Australian, Zimbabwe etc.

For the major languages, Microsoft has a combined all the language variants into a single pack. The English language dictionary in Word 2010 comes with 18 different variations while French has 15 versions (France, Canada etc) to choose from and there are 21 Spanish variations (Spain, Mexico, US etc).


More than one language

As we mentioned, all releases of Office include the English language pack and may also have other languages as well. The standard ‘English’ version of Office also has spelling and grammar options for French and Spanish available during the setup.

To install those extra languages (or to see what you already have) go to Control Panel | Programs and Features then select Microsoft Office | Change | Add/Remove Features and check the list of languages.


Local versions of Office

These days there’s really no such thing as, say, an ‘Australian’ or ‘UK’ version of Office, it is the English language version of Office. The ‘English (Australian) ‘option is chosen during setup if your Windows regional settings are configured to Australia.

This is sometimes a source of trouble. A careless installation of Windows will accept the defaults for the USA, those defaults are used when installing Office. The result is that people in Canada, UK, Australia and other places complain that Office using American spellings.

It’s easily fixed …


Changing default language

Firstly change your Windows Regional Settings (under Control Panel) to match the area you prefer. Office will use the Windows settings for things like default date formatting.

In Word 2007/2010, change the default language in Review | Set Proofing Language or for Office 2003 and before Tools | Language | Set Language take you to the same dialog box.

Word - change language default.jpg image from Changing languages that come with Office at Office-Watch.com

Choose the language from the long list. Note the ‘ABC’ logo – that indicates the spelling/grammar pack is installed for that language.

Then choose ‘Set As Default’ and confirm the change to the Normal template. You’ll have to change the default language for any template that doesn’t inherit from Normal.

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