Fix: Google Docs Spell Check not Working

The spell check in Google docs might not work if your system’s browser or OS is outdated. Moreover, corrupt cache or wrong configuration of the browser’s settings may also cause the error under discussion.

The issue arises when the user tries to use Google Docs spell but (some or all) the misspelled words are not marked as incorrect; even the correct words were marked as wrong in some cases. For some users, there was no spell-checking option in the Tools menu. The issue is reported on nearly all major browsers and operating systems.

Google Docs Spell Check Not Working

Before moving on with the solutions to fix the spell check of Google Docs, restart your system/device and networking equipment to clear out any temporary glitch. If you are using a corporate/school managed system or device, contact the IT administrator of your organization to sort out the issue. Moreover, make sure no accessibility features of Google Docs are enabled. Additionally, check if the keyboard shortcut of spell check, i.e., Ctrl + Alt + X or F7, is working.

Furthermore, right-click on the misspelled word, and then in the options shown, try to enable the spell-check. If you are using the mobile version of Google Docs, make sure it is updated to the latest build. Keep in mind that Google Docs only recognizes entries that are close to actual words but are misspelled, and the spell check will not work on a document that is filled with gobbledygook (a serious design flaw), and thus would not flag the entries as wrong or give an alternative suggestion.

Solution 1: Set the Language of the Document

The spell check feature of Google Docs will not work if you have not set the document’s language manually. In this case, settings the document language may solve the problem.

  1. Launch Google Docs and open one of the problematic documents.
  2. Now, open the File menu and then click on the Language option.
  3. Then in the sub-menu, select the language of your document and then relaunch Google Docs to check if its spell check issue is resolved.
    Set the Document Language in Google Docs

Solution 2: Enable the Spell and Grammar Check for the Document

The spell checker of Google Docs will not work if the said option is disabled for the document. In this scenario, enabling the spell check for the document may solve the problem.

  1. Launch Google Docs and open one of the problematic documents.
  2. Then open the Tools menu and click on the option of Spelling and Grammar.
  3. Now, enable the option of Show Spelling Suggestions and then enable the option of Show Grammar Suggestions.
    Enable the Options of Show Spelling and Grammar Suggestions
  4. Then check if the spell check issue is resolved.

Solution 3: Disable Enhanced Spell Check of Your Browser

Many advanced browsers have built-in functionality to check spells (basic and enhanced). Google Docs works fine with the basic spell check, but if the option of Enhanced Spell Check of the browser is enabled, then Google Docs may encounter the issue under discussion as enhanced spell check interferes in the normal operation of Google Docs. For elucidation, we will discuss how to disable the enhanced spell-check of  Chrome.

  1. Launch the Chrome browser and open its menu (by clicking 3 vertical ellipses near the top left of the screen).
  2. Then, in the menu displayed, click on Settings and, in the left half of the window shown, expand the Advanced option.
    Chrome Settings
  3. Now click on Languages and then, in the right half of the window, under the option of Spell Check, select the radio button Basic Spell Check (which will uncheck the option of Enhanced Spell Check).
    Enable Basic Spell Check of Chrome
  4. Then relaunch Chrome and check if Google Docs are operating normally.

Solution 4: Create a Copy of the Problematic Document

The Google Docs spell check may also not work if the problematic document is too large. In this context, creating a copy of the problematic document (the history and comments will be removed from the copy) and the spell check may work fine in it.

  1. Launch Google Docs and open one of the problematic documents.
  2. Now open the File menu and then click on Make a Copy.
    Make a copy of the Google Document
  3. Then enter the name of the copy, and its save location. Ensure that all the optional checkboxes are unchecked (i.e., Share it With the Same People, Copy Comments and Suggestions, Include Resolved Comments and Suggestion).
  4. Now click on the OK button and then check if Spell Check is working fine in the copy of the problematic document.
    Enter the Copy Name and Uncheck the Other Options

Solution 5: Copy/Paste the Contents of the Problematic Document Without Formatting

The Google Docs spell check might not work if the problematic documents’ contents are copied from a web source or other program. The copied contents consist of text plus code (of the source) that can cause different types of issues/glitches, including the current one. In this case, copying and pasting the contents without formatting may solve the problem.

  1. Create a copy of the problematic document, as discussed in solution 4.
  2. Now select all the document contents by pressing Ctrl + A and then press Ctrl + X to cut the contents.
  3. Now, press Ctrl + Shift + V to paste the contents without formatting.
    Press Ctrl+Shift+V to Paste Without Formatting
  4. Then check if the spell check is working fine.

Solution 6: Remove Extra Languages from Your Browser

If you have enabled more than one language in the browser settings, then Google Docs may fail to perform the spell check as it can get “confused” about the language it has to check. In this case, removing the extra languages from your browser may solve the problem. For illustration, we will discuss how to remove/disable extra languages from Chrome.

  1. Launch Google Chrome and open its menu by click on 3 vertical dots near the top right of the window.
  2. Then click on Settings, and in the left pane of the window, expand Advanced.
  3. Now click on Languages and then, under languages, expand your primary language.
  4. Then, in the section of Order Languages Based on Your Preference, click on 3 vertical dots in front of the language, you do not want to use and then click on Remove.
    Expand Your Primary Language in Chrome Settings
  5. Under the option of Use Spell Check For, disable all languages except the one you want to use.
    Remove Extra Languages From Primary and Disable Spell Check for Extra Languages
  6. Then relaunch Chrome and check if Google Docs is clear of the spell check error.

Solution 7: Update Your Browser to the Latest Build

Your browser is regularly updated to pace with the latest technological advancements and patch the known bugs. The Google Docs spell check may not work if your browser is not updated to the latest build, leading to compatibility issues between Google Docs and the browser. In this context, updating your browser to the latest build may solve the problem. For illustration, we will discuss how to update the Chrome browser.

  1. Launch the Chrome browser and near the top right of the window, click on 3 vertical ellipses to open the Chrome menu.
  2. Now, click on Settings, and then in the left pane of the window, click on About Chrome.
    Update Chrome
  3. Then in the right pane of the window, check if Chrome is updated to the latest build.
  4. Now, click on the Relaunch Chrome button (if an update was applied) and then check if the spell check issue is resolved.

Solution 8: Disable/Remove the Browser’s Extension

Browser extensions greatly enhance a browser functionality but may cause the error at hand if any of the extensions interfere in the operation of the Google Docs (especially, grammar and spelling check extensions like Grammarly). In this case, disabling or removing the problematic extensions may solve the problem. For illustration, we will discuss how to remove an extension from a Chrome browser (do not forget to keep the backup of essential extensions’ data).

  1. Launch the Chrome browser and click on the Extension icon.
  2. Now select the option of Manage Extensions.
    Open Manage Extensions in Chrome
  3. Then disable or remove the problematic extensions (Grammarly and Amazon extensions are known to create the issue) and check if the spell check issue is resolved.
    Disable Grammarly Extension
  4. If not, then either disable/remove all the extensions or use the incognito mode of Chrome (if no extensions are given access to the incognito mode).
  5. Then check if the Google Docs spell check is working fine. If so, then enable/install the extensions one by one to find the problematic one.

Solution 9: Clear the Cache and Cookies of Your Browser

Nearly all the major browsers use a cache and cookies to make the user experience better and boost up performance. But Google Docs spell check may not work if the cache or cookies of your browser are corrupt. In this scenario, clearing the cache and cookies of your browser may solve the problem. For elucidation, we will discuss how to clear the cache and cookies of a Chrome browser (do not forget to backup essential data/information).

  1. Launch the Chrome browser and click on 3 vertical ellipses to open the Chrome menu.
  2. Then, click on the More Tools option, and in the sub-menu, click on Clear Browsing Data.
    Open Clear Browsing Data in Chrome
  3. Now, click on Sign Out (if you want to remove history from the system but want to keep it in your Google account).
  4. Then select the Time Range of All Time and select all the Categories.
  5. Now, click on Clear Data and then exit Chrome.
    Clear Browsing Data in Chrome
  6. Now, launch Chrome and check if Google Docs are clear of the spell check error.

Solution 10: Reset Your Browser Settings to the Defaults

If none of the solutions above has helped you, then the issue could result from a misconfiguration of your browser’s settings. In this case, resetting your browser’s settings to the defaults may solve the problem. For illustration, we will guide you on how to reset Chrome’s settings to their defaults.

  1. Launch the Chrome browser and open its menu (by clicking 3 vertical dots near the top right of the screen).
  2. Now click on Settings and then, in the left pane of the window, expand Advanced.
  3. Then, click on Reset and Clean Up.
    Click Reset and clean up in Chrome Advanced Settings
  4. In the right pane of the window, click on Restore Settings to Their Original Defaults (usually the first option) and then confirm to reset by click on the Reset Settings button.
    Restore Settings to Their Original Defaults
  5. Then, relaunch Chrome, and upon relaunch, check if Google Docs is clear of the spell check error.
    Confirm Reset Settings

Solution 11: Update the OS of Your System to the Latest Build

You may encounter the error under discussion if your system’s OS is outdated, leading to compatibility issues between Google Docs and your system. In this context, updating the OS of your system to the latest build may solve the problem. We will discuss how to update the OS of a Chromebook (make sure you are connected to a Wi-Fi network).

  1. Launch the Settings of your Chromebook and then click on About Chrome.
  2. Now, click on Check for Updates and then click on the Restart button (if updates were applied).
    Check for Updates of Chrome OS
  3. Then open Google Docs and hopefully, the spell check issue is resolved.

If the issue is still there, try Google Docs in another browser (e.g., the issue is with Chrome, then try to use Firefox or Edge). Moreover, try to use another extension like Grammarly, Read & Write, etc. to manage the spell check till the issue is sorted. You can also use MS Word (copy the text to word and check all the spellings there, copy back the corrected text to Google Docs) to check for the spellings until the problem is solved. It will be a good idea to report the issue to developers using Help > Report an Issue.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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Fix: Google Docs Spell Check not Working

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