How to change the language in MS Word

The default language of your MS Word depends on the configuration of your computer or device.

Sometimes, you might want to change it to suit your preferred language. MS Word provides different methods on how you can achieve this, depending on your reasons.

Using pre-installed features, you can either change the display or editing language of your MS Word program.

  1. Language Preferences in MS Word

Now, there are two methods you can use to change the language in MS Word.

2 Ways to Change the Language in MS Word

  • Changing the authoring language
  • Changing the display language

MS Word uses two language settings—authoring and display.

It is important to understand what each setting means before you change them. The authoring language manages the proofreading options, such as the spelling and grammar of your documents.

In contrast, the display language pertains to the language of the menus and controls of MS Word. As you proceed with this article, you will be guided on the step-by-step processes on how you can change each of these settings.

Let’s get started!


Why Should You Change the Language of MS Word?

Changing the language of MS Word helps you to be more comfortable using it. It may be easier to locate the controls if the display language is set according to your preference. In the case of authoring language, matching it with the document you are working on can help you edit with ease. 

Here are some good rules of thumb that help you decide when to change the display or authoring language:

  • You find it hard to locate the user controls in your MS Word interface when the default language is not your native language.
  • You need to proofread a document that is written in a particular language.
  • The default editing language is a different variant of your language.

These are some of the most common instances when you need to change the language settings. In the next section of this article, you will be guided on the steps on how you can change them. Do not worry if, for some time in the future, you have accidentally changed the settings into a language you cannot understand. You can always revert to the default language by performing the same steps.

Let’s dive right in!


Method 1: Changing the Authoring Language

If you need to check the spelling and grammar of a document written in a particular language, you need to set its proofing language. Before you can do so, MS Word requires you to change the authoring language.

Here are the steps on how you can do it.

Step 1: Open MS Word application.

Begin by opening your MS Word application. To do this, press the Window key on your keyboard and immediately type “Word”. Your system will immediately display a list of applications that contain the keyword. From the result, click the MS Word application.

  1. Opening MS Word application

Step 2: Open the Word Options dialog box.

The Start screen is the first window you will see upon opening MS Word. From here, you can already open the Word Options dialog box, which contains the controls you will need to change the authoring language. Click the Options control on the left panel of the Start screen to display the dialog box. If you have an open document already, you can always access the Start screen by clicking the File tab on the ribbon.

  1. Word Options dialog box

Step 3: Locate the Authoring Languages setting.

From the Word Options dialog box, you need to access the Language settings. It contains two sections—the Office display language and Office Authoring languages and proofing. Since you only need to change the authoring language, you will focus on the latter option. Click on the Language option from the Word Options dialog box. This will display all the settings you will need.

  1. Language option
  2. Office authoring languages and proofing section

Step 4: Add languages to the Office authoring languages and proofing section.

MS Word application offers a limited number of languages to choose from. If your preferred language is not on the list, you can always add it using the Add a Language command. Click it to display a list of available languages you can add. From the list, click your preferred language. Finish adding your selected language by clicking the Add button. Keep in mind that you can always add more than one in your authoring languages list by performing the same step.

  1. Add a Language command
  2. List of available languages

Step 5: Install proofing tools of the newly-added language.

Upon adding your preferred language, ensure that its proofing tools are also installed. You can confirm this by looking at its status on the list. The status “Proofing installed” means that the tools are already installed. In this case, you can now use the proofing tools of the added language. If the status is “Proofing available”, it means that you still need to download and install its proofing tools. 

  1. Proofing tools are installed
  2. Proofing tools can be downloaded and installed

You can download and install it by clicking the status. Doing so will redirect you to Microsoft’s official language pack download page. Download and install the language pack to your computer by following the instructions on the page. 

  1. Microsoft’s official download page

Step 6: Finalize your preferred list of languages.

Review your list of authoring languages and make any necessary adjustments. Set your preferred language by clicking it and click the Set as Preferred button. Remove the language you do not need by clicking it and click the Remove button. Finish your setting by clicking the OK button on the dialog box. You can now use the proofing tools of your preferred language.


Method 2: Changing the Display Language

The display language influences the ribbon, tabs and controls of your MS Word screen. You can change the default language into your desired language. Do this to make you more comfortable finding and using all the features you need.

You can change the display language by following these steps.

Step 1: Locate and open MS Word.

Of course, you need to open the MS Word application to change its language setting. You can search for it by pressing the Window key on your keyboard and type the keyword “Word”. This will then display a list of files and applications associated with the keyword. Click the MS Word application from the list to open it.

Step 2: Display the Word Options dialog box using the appropriate control.

Whenever you open the MS Word program, the start screen appears. You can immediately display the Word Options dialog box by clicking the Options control on the left panel. If you already have an open document, you can redisplay the Start screen by clicking the File tab.

Step 3: Locate the Display Language setting.

In this step, you need to access the Office display language section. You can find this by clicking the Language option from the Word Options dialog box. Upon clicking, MS Word will redirect you to the Language Preferences page. This contains the setting you will need.

Step 4: Add a language to the Office display language section.

As stated earlier, MS Word already offers some pre-installed display languages. If your desired language is not on the list, you have the option to download and install it. Click the download hyperlink below the Office display language section as shown in the image below. This will display a list of available languages you can download and install.

  1. Office display language section
  2. Download languages hyperlink

Step 5: Download and install the selected language.

From the list of languages, click your desired language and click the Install button. This will redirect you to Microsoft’s official language pack download page. Download the installer by clicking the download button and wait until it completes. Once done, install the language pack by double-clicking it. 

Step 6: Finalize your display language.

Once the installation of the language pack completes, you may need to reopen MS Word. Recall the steps on how to open MS Word application and perform it. Again, locate and display the Language Preferences page which you can find using the Options control. From the Office display language section, click the language you want to set as the default and click the Set as Preferred button. 

  1. Set as Preferred button

Afterwards, click the OK button of the Word Options dialog box. A message box will prompt informing you that you need to restart MS Word to apply the changes.


Conclusion

There are situations where you find MS Word to be too intimidating on how to use it. It may be because of its language or the language of the document you are working on. Following the methods discussed throughout this article helps you deal with this problem. 

We hope you found this article helpful!

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