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How to add new words to the Google Docs dictionary

To avoid Google correcting words it shouldn't, Jack Wallen shows you how to add entries to the personal dictionary to help expand Docs' vocabulary.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer on

Depending on your usage, you've probably found that Google Docs tends to autocorrect words it shouldn't. This happens quite a lot for me. This especially happens when writing about Linux and the command-line interface, using different variations on character names, if I've invented a new name for a location, or, well, just about anything that veers beyond the norm.

When that happens often, it can get a bit frustrating having to correct Google's corrections. And given what I do for a living, it always happens.

To curtail such behavior, Google has a special dictionary that serves as a repository for any and all words you need it not to correct all the time. And, even better, it's quite simple to use.

Let me show you how to add words to your Personal Dictionary within Google Docs. Once you've added words to this dictionary, they'll be available to all documents you create in either Docs or Drive.

And, without further ado, let's expand that dictionary.

How to add words to the dictionary

1. Log in to your Google account

The first thing to do is log in to your Google account (which you've probably already done). Once logged in, go to either Google Drive or Google Docs and create a new document.

2. Open the personal dictionary

There are two ways to add words to your Personal Dictionary. The first is from the Personal Dictionary tool itself. To access the Personal Dictionary from within your new document, go to Tools > Spelling and grammar > Personal dictionary (Figure 1).

The Google Docs Tools menu.

Figure 1: The Google Docs Tools menu.

Image: Jack Wallen

When you open the Personal Dictionary (Figure 2), it will probably be empty.

The Google Docs Personal Dictionary.

Figure 2: I've already added words to the Personal Dictionary.

Image: Jack Wallen

With the Personal Dictionary open, type the word you want to add into the Add a new word field and either hit Enter on your keyboard or click Add. Keep adding words until you're done, and then click OK to dismiss the Dictionary.

3. An easier method of adding words

If you open the built-in Google Docs spell check, when it comes to a word it doesn't know, click the three-dot button and click Add to personal dictionary (Figure 3).

The Spelling and Grammar drop-down menu.

Figure 3: Adding containderd to my Personal Dictionary from within the spell check tool.

Image: Jack Wallen

Congratulations, you've started adding words to your Google Docs Personal Dictionary. Although it might take a bit of time out of your busy day to do this, the end results will save you time and frustration in the long run. Besides, any chance you can get to make your workflow more efficient and reliable is time well spent.

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