How to Change the Proofing Language in Office 2010 from AmEng (U.S.) to BrEng (U.K.)

foreign language translate feature

Here is how to do some language translation in Office 2010.

Microsoft Office, the software, is a bit like The Office, the TV show: there’s a British version and an American version (actually, there’s a French, German, Israeli, and Chilean version, too). All jokes aside, if you ever find yourself writing for a U.K. audience but proofing using the default U.S. Word 2010 dictionary, you’re going to get far more red squiggly lines than you deserve. Or, let’s say you’re writing a report in AmEng, but you’re quoting a paper published in the U.K. Again, you’re going to get erroneous spellcheck hits. Here’s how to fix that on a document-by-document basis.

Step 1

Create a New Word document, or open an existing document with AmEng/BrEng text.

change to british english in word 2010

Step 2

Select the text for which you’d like to change the proofing language. If you want to change the entire document, press CTRL + A to select all.

change to u.s. american english in office 2010

Step 3

From the Review ribbon, click Language > Set Proofing Language…

switch b/t u.k. and u.s. english in office 2010

Step 4

Choose English (U.K.) or English (U.S.) and Click OK. Obviously, you can choose any other language here as well, including English (Canada) and other versions of English.

u.s. canada and british dictionaries in word 2010

Step 5

Repeat this for each section of your Word document that uses a different language. If you want to change all documents to the selected language, Click Set as Default.

change default proofing language to british in word 2010

That should do the trick.

english english and american english

For a more in-depth guide on setting up multiple dictionaries in Office 2010, check out this earlier tutorial: .



  1. Des Newell

    Thank you for this. It is annoying that something so simple cannot be done so intuitively. This seems to be a particular problem for microsoft who cater for the most technically brilliant while leaving the vast majority of users stumbling around in complexity.

  2. Sophitsa

    Thanks. Was so annoying – I thought i was changing it for the whole document, but just the text. This was so easy to follow and has fixed the problem. Cheers!

  3. K Taylor

    Still shows granddad with 2 d’s which is not UK english

  4. W Bellward

    Thanks, that was so annoying …now how do I force Word to be English (U.K) automatically when I open a new document?

  5. Kate

    I find it still changes back every time you reopen the document – even if you set to it to default for all documents in the normal template. US English is insidious and constantly imposes itself where it is isn’t wanted. Since you cannot delete US English, the only real option is to select ‘add to dictionary’ each time. In this way you gradually teach US English how to spell.

  6. Rob

    What needs to be remembered about this topic is;

    Americans speak and spell American,
    Every other English speaking country speaks and writes English.

    Americans measure using American units, US gallons, US tons etc
    Many years ago the commonwealth countries used Imperial units, proper gallons, tons etc
    Now, America is about the only country in the world who hasn’t gone over to the metric system.

    Whether its spelling, measuring, manners or how you hold your fork, America is the odd one out, left behind by he rest of the world.

  7. Richard

    My Word 2010 is set to Australian English but it still uses at least some US spellings – “recognise”, “cheque”, “harbour” and “favour” are all redlined on a document I have open at the moment but “centre” isn’t.

    There was a vogue for using US spellings in Australia from the 1930s to 1960s – notably the Australian Labor Party uses the US spelling and the town of Victor Harbour changed its name to Victor Harbor (but Shellharbour didn’t). However, normal usage in Australia nowadays favours (not favors) UK spelling.

    Spare a thought for the poor lexicographers.

  8. Michele Robertson

    I find that I can default the language to British but my autocorrect stays in Australian. Drives me nuts. Any solutions?

  9. Harvey Pettit

    At last, some clear instructions that work, rather than confuse or do not work at all. I also changed the default language for my Windows 10 operating system to English(UK).

    Thank you so much

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