Outlook Express Spell Check Disabled in Office 2007 – Le Miserable Microsoft, avez vous un fricking clue?

I installed a new PC yesterday for a State Welcome center that came with the new office 2007 programs. After a day the staff asked me why their Outlook spell checking was working for French only. “Sacre bleu”, I said after throwing in some Francais and noting that only the English words were listed as “wrong”.   Noting the CDs boldly proclaimed “made in Canada” I first thought “ha – it’s those pesky Quebecois poking fun at Les Americains, oui? NON! After the typical 5 minutes of surfing anywere but Microsoft.com to find answers about Microsoft product defects, to my amazement I read this note from MS which states:

NO more OE spelling in English!

At first I thought it was an odd joke site, but indeed it’s true. The staff at this center uses that simple utility *daily* so why is Outlook Express spelling reserved only for the French?  I love France, especially Paris, France and their superior Freedom Fries, but I think we need some spelling help here in the USA as well.

This utility fixed the problem by adding a new English dictionary. I can’t vouch for the program yet since I just put it on, but it appears legitimate and good.

Yet another case where MS is absolutely *clueless* to the needs of users, and arrogantly provides downgrades as you upgrade to newer, potentially even more frustrating versions of Office. This one is pure insanity since the fix is cheap and easy for MS.  Why in the world would they disable English spell checking?  Google would have created a superior dictionary with the upgrade, where MS creates….nothing, and makes it hard to even find out what to do.

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87 thoughts on “Outlook Express Spell Check Disabled in Office 2007 – Le Miserable Microsoft, avez vous un fricking clue?

  1. Pingback: Outlook Express Spell Check Disabled in Office 2007 - Le Miserable Microsoft, avez vous un fricking clue?  »Technology News | Venture Capital, Startups, Silicon Valley, Web 2.0 Tech

  2. Wow, that makes no sense. Isn’t the whole point of upgraded versions to make everything better and easier instead of the opposite? By 2008 maybe you will have to handwrite and then scan anything you would have otherwise typed into OE. I wonder what they could have been thinking…

  3. Maggie I just don’t get it. The program I installed for them to fix this seems to work OK, but why is MS missing this golden opportunity to *upgrade* and take advantage of OE’s huge intstalled user base? Is MS so bureaucratic that incredibly stupid things happen because nobody is really held accountable for fixing the obvious?

  4. Thank you SOOO much for this tip. I am not that computer literate (or patient…), and have tried several links from the ‘oh-so-helpful’ Microsoft website to try to fix this ridiculous problem, to no avail. (And you’re right, their own website was entirely useless and apathetic). Your suggestion was simple, quick, easy, and WORKED!! Such a relief. I still can’t believe Microsoft would do such a stupid thing in the first place, but thanks so much for abating my increasing anger!

  5. Wow that is really thrifty of Microsoft to do that. I faced the problem and hope this article helps me beat Microsoft.
    But does anyone know why would they do it in the first place??

  6. Joe and other Office ’07 users: Aside from the ridiculous (and oh so MS-like) problem with the Outlook spell check, how is the rest of the program? Anything that jumps right out as an improvement or innovation? We’re getting ready to get my husband a new laptop, and I just wondered how the program was otherwise.

    Thanks, Joe, for the good tip on this.

  7. Madeleine this was for an install I did. I use it so rarely I have not even put MS Office on my new computer. I recommend using simpler programs like Google’s Office suite or WordPad (on most new PC’s) which are free. In my opinion MS Office is overkill for 95% of tasks and for the remaining 5% it’s only good if you are doing big database things with Access or have somebody who knows OFFICE well enough to utilize templates, merging, macros, etc. Those can make some WP tasks easier (like mailing a “personalized” letter to 1000 people). I think you can do all that with the Google Free stuff anyway though I’m not familiar with those features.

  8. How’s this for strange… I installed Office 2007 (after uninstalling Office 2003) at home and though my Outlook Express 6 dictionary changed to French for the first day, it went to English the next day. Here at the office, I upgraded to Office 2007 and am living with a French dictionary. Is the difference installing vs. upgrading?

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  10. If you have installed office 2007 after uninstalling office 2003, this happens. If you have the 2003 office CDs u can install only the proofing tool and disable all the other components like word, excel etc. This is one way of getting back your English and other dictionaries in OE.

    • This all was written in 2007 Does this still work this way??? I have a student 2002 Office suite… will that let me do the same thing??

  11. I am thrilled to find I am not the only person installing a new computer having this problem. I am not good with a computer, but thankfully I can spell. I can read your blog, but the links you recommend do not show. Can anyone walk me through this fix. We desperately need an English spell check function for our remote office.

  12. I don’t know if anyone has used a registry cleaner for your PC but I found a great software download called RegCure and
    it has worked for me for years! Try their free scan.

  13. My solution for the French restricted option in OE is to give the entire office 2007 pkg back to the place I purchased it from and let THEM fight with MS.
    Maybe if enough people return the software even MS might get the message. The again Steve Jobs could help us and throw another dart into Mr Gates.
    What incredible gall they have!

  14. I tried to download the file you advise here but it doesn’t install. It starts and stops again. I don’t have the Microsoft Office 2003. French only doesn’t do it for me, before I had a dictionary for Portuguese and English which were very useful as I type very fast. I do miss Dutch as I do write a lot of e-mails in Dutch. Can anyone advise a spell check, freware, which I can download? No idea why the one advised here doesn’t work as many of you seem to have used it! Thanks! And true, you pay a lot of money to upgrade their stuff and they do this to you! Very unfair!!!!! The Great Bill Gates!

  15. The file starts to download and then stops and nothing else happens, no idea why… I would really love to have the spell check… By the way, a good one of Microsoft, we bought this computer with a 6 month trial of the Office just it was turned off after maybe 1 month. A guy somewhere in India told me to call the manufacturer of the computer but Siemens and the shop where we bought it said that it was up to Microsoft. Well… that is the way they work! Nou why the spell check in French for the whole world, that is a mystery to me!

  16. Francisca I wish I could help but there are too many possibles here – do try searching for the file at other spots, you may have a problem at your ISP with downloading from other countries…

    Forget MS office and just use the excellent free stuff from Google if you have a fast connection. If not, consider the free Sun Office Suite or other suites.

  17. Thanks Joe. We have never had a problem downloading files before. You are right, everybody should forget about Microsoft, that way they would learn. We have had Open Office before, it is free and it works fine! I will try to find this file somewhere else!

  18. Madeline, I liked all the Offices till 2003, unfortunately because we bought a new laptop now I have 2007 and I don’t like it. I only use Word but it looks like Word for Dummies. Why didn’t they keep the features that were working so well… I guess that if you enjoy icons then this is your thing, if you like a more grown up programme no! And other computers can’t often read the files sent in this format. If I send a file to my boyfriend who has 2003 in the office he can’t open it which means that I can’t share any files with a lot of people.

  19. Scenario: Purchased a brand new computer with XP and activated Office 2007 60-Day trial license (although a full version should still run into the same problem). English dictionary no longer appeared in OE. Downloaded OE English 2.1 dictionary from Softpedia and installed it. From OE, go to Tools -> Spelling -> Select English Dictionary. Now every time you spell check, Outlook Express crashes. Since a copy of Office 2003 is not available, cannot use the proofing tools from that version.

    Solution: If 2007 shared proofing tools are installed, installing a third party spelling dictionary might cause this scenario. Go to Start -> Control Panel -> Add/Remove Programs -> Offce 2007 -> Remove. This will give you the option to change your installed settings. Follow the prompts until you get to the part where you select which parts of office you want to install. Locate Sharing -> Proofing and set entire category to not installed. Let the installation update itself. Now reinstall the English Dictionary from Softpedia.com. When running the spell checker, Outlook Express should no longer crash. Spell check features still work in Office 2007 as well.

  20. I found a solution to the problem that is not a quick fix cover up. Just as a preface i was using an XP machine but it should work on vista as well.

    1. Open Outlook
    2. Goto Tools
    3. Trust Center
    4. Add-Ins Menu (left pane)
    5. Manage (bottom of window) -> select disabled Add-Ins -> go
    6. Look for Add-In relating to speller or checker

    have fun 🙂

  21. Thank you very much for this great tip.
    I could not believe it when I read MS web site support page with useless tips and outrageous admission of such ahuge problem.
    That is simply isulting the customers.


  22. I have a Windows XP Media Center Edition PC, which includes Internet Explorer and Outlook Express as well as Office 2007. I am English, but I can get only French in the OE6 spell-checker. How can I get an English (U.K.) spell-checker? My old computer with OE6 checked in English!—Christine Henderson

    AOutlook Express doesn’t actually have a spell-check feature of its own, but it will exploit Microsoft Office’s spell-checker if it’s installed. Your loss of English-language spell-checking is a side effect of installing Office 2007. Microsoft’s Knowledge Base article 932974 confirms that installation of Office 2007 “upgrades” the spell-check files for English, Spanish, and German to new versions that are incompatible with Outlook Express.

    Microsoft does not offer any solution for this problem, but it suggests you “use a search site to find spell-checking programs” or get advice in the Microsoft Communities discussion forums. You’ll have the added concern of finding one that supports English (U.K.) and not just English (U.S.).

    Of course, you could just switch to using Outlook for e-mail. It’s part of Office 2007, so you’ve already paid for it. When you fire it up, it will offer to import settings and messages from Outlook Express. Who knows—you might come to prefer it! (Hmm . . . is this a sinister plot by Microsoft to marginalize Outlook Express?)

  23. http://outlook-tips.net/cs/blogs/outlooktips/archive/2006/12/28/586.aspx

    Tip 379: Office 2007 and OE Spell Check
    After a long break to move, the Tips are back!

    If you install Office 2007, spell checking in Outlook Express may not work as expected, unless you want spell check in French. 🙂 This is because Office 2007 uses new proofing tools and OE can’t use them because it’s designed to use the older tools.

    It’s easy to fix: install just the proofing tools from your previous version of Office (using the custom install option). You can get them from any older Office suite or application – including FrontPage, Publisher or standalone versions of Word, Excel, or Outlook.

    To install just the proofing tools from Office 2003, run Office setup and choose the custom option. Uncheck all programs in the list and add a check to choose the options at the bottom of the programs list. No the nest screen, set each top level item to be Not Available (red X icon). Expand the Office Shared Features branch and locate Proofing tools in the list. Expand proofing tools and choose English, setting it to Run from my computer. Finish the installation.

    Once installed, restart OE – go to Tools, Options and verify Spelling is configured to use the correct English dictionary.

    # re: Tip 379: Office 2007 and OE Spell Check

  24. This is NUTS! I have been going crazy trying to figure out why outlook is spell checking in what looks like French! No one I talked to had ever heard of such a thing and can’t seem to help me….even the computer store that built the computer for us! This is CRAZY!!! Who can help and will Microsoft do something about this?? We are not computer nerds in this house so a quick fix that may sound good to some of you other people is totally useless to us. I JUST WANT SOMEONE TO FIX THIS…LIKE NOW!! Before I get so frustrated I cry!…too late…

  25. Betty try the link above to fix the dictionary. Don’t cry -= blame the computer guys who decided to drop support and not put that clearly in the setup instructions!

  26. I also have a problem with Mirosaoft office Spell check,it is also french. I can not send my pictures e-mail.This program has picture studio,but I can not send!!!

  27. Tip 31 above (where you reinstall the info from MO 2003) works but then the contact manager in outlook no longer works. I need a fix that allows both outlook express and outlook to work. Any ideas?

  28. Thanks for the link, JoeDuck! I don’t know this for a fact, but I wonder if this is MS’s way to slowly force everyone to switch to Windows Live Mail. Just a hunch…

  29. I put my machine in the repair shop, and I was returned with all problems corrected. However my Spell Checker
    capability was gone. When I tried all the advice from the
    Repair shop, and dozens of Computer users of many levels of competencey, am still without My Spell Checker restored.
    I also had this Crapy explaination of the French version
    use. And it seems that MSN appears not to be capable enough to tell me how to restore my Spell Checker capability to
    restore it to my HP pavilion a712n CPU.

  30. Joe, this one TOTALLY hit the mark. Thanks. You saved my bacon and made me look good with my boss, who upgraded his laptop with a stolen… *ahem* I mean “re-appropriated” version of Office 2007 without telling me, his humble SysAdmin. Hey, he owns the company. What’s a geek to do, right?

    MS didn’t do away with the dictionaries, by the way. You may find that they’ve been moved from the Proof directory to a new and improved Proof directory that is compatible with Live Mail. So, really, they’re helping. Sort of like shoving an old lady out into traffic if she wants to cross the street. “Hey look, everybody!” “I’m helping!” “Watch it with that cane, lady!” “You’re going the wrong way!!!”

    Thanks, Microsoft. We can take it from here.

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  32. Hey thanks for this tip, it works in a flash and is so easy. I was nervous downloading it, but it’s a dream. Thanks Joe.

  33. Thank you all and especially for comment #31. I just recently installed the Office 2007 and couldn’t figure out why the OE spell check was in French. Finally found the reason and the fix. I followed your directions and now have English again. Thank you so much.

  34. I had Office 2000 and upgraded to Office 2007. I run Windows XP. Same problem with Outlook Epress 6.xxxx. Only French spell check. Read lots of Q & A on the French Spell Check problem and this is what worked for me.

    First I used my Office 2000 disc and custom install. From there I denied installation to everything except Proof and the english versions under Office Tools. Easy to do in the drop downs for this software and I probably could have included French and Spanish. I continued the installation process. At some point the installation stalled and I canceled. However what installed to that point is in your PC or Labtop. Then, following another tip, I found the file “csapi3t1.dll” file using search, copied and pasted it to “Outlook express” folder found in Programs. Works just fine now and no Office 2007 spell checks have been altered. Worked for me and everything except this message have been spell checked. There was some dumb luck here but who cares.

  35. Re spellcheck and MS 2007. I was so excited to learn that this was the software and not me and that there was a free upgrade to fix the French problem. This I did yesterday and voila! problem solved, or so I thought. I just realised that it picks up English language errors ok now, but it uses the same incorrect spelling as the suggested option. Help!

  36. Re comment 39 from Calipete: that’s actually the simple solution. MS issued a new mail client (Windows Mail I think it’s called) with Vista, and now have a freely downloadable ‘Windows Live Mail’ which is to be the replacement for Outlook Express & Windows Mail.
    When you install it your accounts, contacts and mail folders are automatically imported from OE, and all in all it’s much slicker than OE… and spell check works. All the reviews I read recommended it, so I tried it… I’ve only had it a day, but so far so good.

  37. Re comment 44: Well, I guess I’m dumber than I thought, ’cause I couldn’t make it work. I unzipped the rar file and nothing has changed, still got French spellcheck. I’m about ready to give up on it and just start using T-bird. This is ridiculous!

  38. Answer to the Outlook express French spelling problem when using MS Office 07.
    Obtain a copy of MS office 2002 or similar.
    Do a custom install, de-select all options then select “proofing tools”), I just selected the English related ones.
    English UK spell checking now works in outlook express.
    Hope that helps.


    • Thanks for the suggestion, Ada. I was finally able to get the spellchecker from #44 properly installed and it works like a champ! Thanks to everybody for all the good info. Too bad Microsoft doesn’t care about us.

  39. Perhaps I am not looking hard enough, but I can not find the place to download this program to fix the French Spelling mystery on Ouylook Express…please advise:>)

    Gordon Emberley

  40. Hey, Joe Duck…Well done! Recently bought a Toshiba Netbook to use while traveling on remote assignments. Loaded Office Home on it but wanted a simple fixed email client to access and retain certain emails on. Didn’t want to pay for or add full-blown Outlook. OE seemed the answer but the freaking French dictionary was a surprise (funny this is that I found this out the day after returning from a weeks’ assignment in France…thought I had picked up a bug at first!). Your fix was seamless. Not used to these problems…I am, historically, a Mac user (since 2003). The netbook was so attractive due to low weight, long battery life, and ability to remotely access Windows applications on my company server…all at a minimal cost. Otherwise…the Mac experience kills this PC nonsense. Thank you again- Tom

  41. Here’s an easy fix:
    Install just the proofing tools from your previous version of Office (using the custom install option) You can get them from any older Office suite or application-
    To install just the proofing tools from Office , run Office setup and choose the custom option. Uncheck all programs in the list and add a check to choose the options at the bottom of the programs list. On the next screen, set each top level item to be NOT AVAILABLE (red X icon) Expand the Office Shared Features branch and locate Proofing tools in the list. Expand proofing tools and choose English, setting it to Run from my computer. Finish installation.
    Once installed, restart OE , go to Tools, Options and verify Spelling is configured to use the correct English dictionary.

    Make sure to leave you CD in until you check because it then will install the proofing tool to Outlook Express. Then it’s go to go .

  42. Thank you very much for this great tip.
    I could not believe it when I read MS web site support page with useless tips and outrageous admission of such ahuge problem.
    That is simply isulting the customers.

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  44. i like to type random words:) any ways i dont got no solution this problem needs to be resolved some one should step up and e
    scalate the issue to microsoft

  45. Thanks Joe.
    Like many others the solution was a big relief. with out spell check I was getting stressed while sending mails in hurry.
    best regards,

  46. Just downloaded that little utility for OE spell checking. Brill., it works!

    I too now have XP/OE6/Office 2007 but had no probs. when I previously used Office 2003.

    One solution I was considering was to compose in Word, spell check, the copy and paste into OE or send as an attachment. But why do that? I could just use my other account, Gmail!

  47. i installed office 2007 then outlook express language change in french. pls. advice how to change the language in outlook express 6

  48. Thanks a million! The French spell checker was driving me crazy! the OE Software went right to work and made me ” tres heureux” or as we say “very happy”.

  49. I had the OE spell check French problem after getting a new hard drive. I went through the same checking the spell check process, finally typing in merd and it sailed through just fine after English words didn’t. Enjoyed Joe Duck’s hilarious comments about MS, and found his download suggestion did the trick — so far, anyway. I’m still a bit wary, wondering if MS’s gotcha system is lurking waiting to strike again.

  50. There is probably no Trust Center on OE because it is a Mickey Mouse version of Outlook.

    Quite how Microsoft managed to launch 2007 world-wide with only a French spell-checker is almost beyond credibility.

    Well, no it isn’t really. They are that busy with constantly re-inventing their own ‘wheel’ the have lost the plot of, ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’.

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