InDesign tutorial: Checking and correcting spelling in InDesign

What you’ll learn in this InDesign Tutorial:

  • Adding words to the dictionary
  • Automatically correcting spelling
  • Using Track Changes
  • Using special characters and glyphs

This tutorial provides you with a foundation for working with Adobe InDesign spelling. It is the third lesson in the Adobe InDesign CC Digital Classroom book. For more Adobe InDesign training options, visit AGI’s InDesign Classes.

Adobe InDesign Tutorial: Checking and correcting spelling in InDesign

Checking spelling is an important part of creating a professional-looking document, and InDesign has several options to help you prevent and correct spelling mistakes and simple typographical errors.

The Dynamic Spelling and Autocorrect options alert you to misspelled words and can automatically change them for you. In this exercise, you will take a closer look at the ability to find and change words across an entire document or group of documents.

Checking spelling

InDesign can help you locate misspelled words, repeated words, uncapitalized words, and uncapitalized sentences.

1 In the Pages panel, double-click page 2 to center the page in the workspace.

2 Select the Type tool () from the Tools panel, and then click anywhere in the headline at the top of page 2 that reads What is the next inovation in cell phones?.

The word innovation is intentionally misspelled to help you gain an understanding of InDesign’s spell-checking capabilities.

3 Choose Edit > Spelling > Check Spelling. The Check Spelling dialog box appears.

4 Select Story from the Search drop-down menu at the bottom of the dialog box so that only this text frame is searched. A story is the InDesign term for a text frame and any other text frames that are linked to it. The Check Spelling dialog box is displayed.

5 Inovation is displayed at the top of the Check Spelling dialog box under the Not in Dictionary category. The correctly spelled innovation appears in the Suggested Corrections field. Select the correct spelling, innovation, and then click Change.

Checking and correcting spelling.

Because InDesign has completed spell-checking the story, the Start and Done buttons are both available. The Start button would recheck the story, while Done closes the Check Spelling dialog box.

6 Click Done.

Adding words to the dictionary

You can add words to the dictionary so they are not listed as incorrectly spelled, such as proper names, or business-specific terms that should be ignored when checking spelling.

1 Using the Type tool (), insert the cursor at the very beginning of the first paragraph at the top of page 2.

2 Choose Edit > Spelling > Check Spelling.

In the Not in Dictionary section, Blippa appears. This is the name of a new product that appears throughout this document.

3 Click Add to place Blippa in the user dictionary, and then click Done.

Adding a word to the dictionary.


You can add or remove words from your user dictionary by choosing Edit > Spelling > User Dictionary. You can add or remove individual words, or use the Import option to import a list of words to add to the dictionary.

4 Choose File > Save to save your work.

Creating a centralized user dictionary

You can create a central user dictionary to share with colleagues so that all workers in your office or team don’t need to create their own dictionary.

To create and share a dictionary, choose Edit > Preferences > Dictionary (Windows), or InDesign > Preferences > Dictionary (Mac OS). Click the New User Dictionary button (). When the New User Dictionary dialog box appears, name the new dictionary. The location and name of the new dictionary file appear listed under the Language drop-down menu.

After adding your commonly used words to the new dictionary, access the new dictionary file on another user’s InDesign program using the Add User Dictionary button () in their Preferences > Dictionary dialog box and specifying the location of the user dictionary file that you created.

Checking spelling as you type

InDesign’s Dynamic Spelling can help you avoid spelling errors by checking spelling as you type. Words not found in the InDesign dictionaries are marked with a red underline in your layout. If you use word processing applications such as Microsoft Word, this will look familiar to you.

1 Click the Pages button () in the panel dock to open the Pages panel. Locate page 3 and double-click the page 3 icon to center the page in the workspace.

2 Using the Type tool (), click inside the text frame containing the headline When is the best time to update equpment?

3 Choose Edit > Spelling > Dynamic Spelling to activate the Dynamic Spelling feature. A red line appears under the word equpment. This may take a moment to occur, as InDesign will review the entire document once Dynamic Spelling is enabled.

Accessing Dynamic Spelling through the Edit menu. Dynamic Spelling turned on.

4 Right-click (Windows) or Control+click (Mac OS) the word equpment. A list of suggested corrections appears in the contextual menu. Choose the word equipment from the list, and the misspelled word is corrected.

Replacing a word using Dynamic Spelling.

5 Disable Dynamic Spelling by choosing Edit > Spelling > Dynamic Spelling.


Automatically correcting spelling

You can use the Autocorrect feature to correct commonly misspelled words and typographical errors as you type. For example, if you type hte when you intend to type the, you can have InDesign automatically correct this error as you enter text while typing. You will now enable Autocorrect and add a word to the list of those that are automatically corrected.

1 Using the Pages panel, navigate to page 2 by double-clicking the page 2 icon.

2 Choose Edit > Preferences > Autocorrect (Windows), or InDesign > Preferences > Autocorrect (Mac OS).

3 When the Preferences dialog box appears, select the Enable Autocorrect check box, if it is not already selected.

The Autocorrect Preferences dialog box.

4 Click the Add button at the bottom of the dialog box to add your own word to be automatically corrected.

5 In the Add to Autocorrect List dialog box, type useage in the Misspelled Word text field, and usage in the Correction text field.

This provides InDesign with the incorrect spelling that should be changed and the correct spelling that should be used instead.

Entering a word into Autocorrect.

6 Click OK, and then click OK again to close the Preferences dialog box.

7 In the Average Cell Phone Usage text frame on page 2, highlight the word Usage and delete it from the text frame. You will now retype this word, intentionally spelling it incorrectly.

8 Type Useage, and then press the spacebar. The Autocorrect feature corrects the misspelled word. Press the Backspace (Windows) or Delete (Mac OS) key to remove the extra space.

9 Disable Autocorrect by choosing Edit > Spelling > Autocorrect.

Editing text using the Story Editor

Sometimes it is easier to view the text separately from the layout. Instead of following text across multiple text frames, or across different pages, it can be easier to edit text in one window. You can use the Story Editor to more easily work with text in one window, even if it is linked across multiple pages or text frames.

The Story Editor also displays text that does not fit into existing frames, known as overset text. Overset text is indicated by a red plus sign that appears at the bottom-right corner of a frame when there is more text than fits within the frame.

1 In the Pages panel, double-click page 5 to center the page in the workspace. Using the Type tool (), click anywhere inside the text frame on page 5 containing the story.

2 Choose Edit > Edit in Story Editor to open the Story Editor window and view the entire story across several pages.

Viewing text using the Story Editor.

3 Use the scroll bar on the right side of the window to navigate to the bottom of the story and see any overset text that does not fit into the text frame.

The Story Editor identifies overset text, which does not fit in the current
text frames.

4 Highlight the overset text and delete it, then close the Story Editor.


While the overset text was deleted in this example, there are several other ways in which overset text is typically addressed. Making edits to the existing story can create room for the text to fit into the existing text frames. Creating additional space by adding new text frames or enlarging the existing frames can also eliminate overset text. Similarly, linking the text to a new frame can give the overset text another frame into which it can be displayed. You can also reduce the size of the text, decrease the leading, or adjust the tracking so that more text fits in the same area.

5 Notice that the red plus sign at the end of the text frame has disappeared, indicating that there is no longer any overset text.

6 Choose File > Save to save your work.


Using Track Changes

If you collaborate with other users, you may find Track Changes useful for displaying changes that have been made to the text in your documents. You can use it to view changes and also approve or reject changes made by others.

1 If, necessary, click the Pages panel button to display it, and double-click the page 3 icon. Zoom in on the text frame below the photo.

2 Choose Window > Editorial > Track Changes to display the Track Changes panel.

Use the Track Changes panel to see
edits made to text in your documents.

3 Select the Type tool (), and click anywhere within the text frame on page 3.

4 Click the Enable Track Changes in Current Story button (). This enables the Track Changes feature for the current story only.


You can enable all stories at once by choosing the option from the Track Changes panel menu ( ).

5 Highlight the word ultimate and change it to best. Also, highlight the word update and change it to replace.

Although Track Changes is enabled, the current view shows the revised text and doesn’t provide any indication that the text has been modified. To see the original and updated text, you will switch from the layout view to the Story Editor.

6 Choose Edit > Edit in Story Editor to display the Story Editor. Note that all the text changes made within this story are highlighted.

Changes highlighted in the Story Editor.

7 Click at the very beginning of the text in the Story Editor and then click the Next Change button () in the Track Changes panel to highlight the first change displayed in the current story. The word best is highlighted.

8 Click the Accept Change button () to accept the insertion of the word best into the final text of the story.

9 Click the Next Change button again to highlight the next change, which is the deletion of the word ultimate.

10 This time, press and hold the Alt key (Windows) or Option key (Mac OS) when accepting the change. The next change is automatically highlighted in the Story Editor. The word replace is highlighted.

11 To change this word to its original state press and hold the Alt key (Windows) or Option key (Mac OS) and then click the Reject Change button () to reject the change and automatically highlight the next change.

12 Finally, click the Reject Change button to reject the deletion of the word update.

After accepting or rejecting changes in the Story Editor, the changes are displayed in layout view. Any changes made to the text in your document appear in the layout view, whether the changes have been accepted or not. The Track Changes feature allows you to monitor the changes and revert to the original text, but the text revisions are displayed immediately in the layout view.

13 Close the Story Editor window and the Track Changes panel. View the final text as it appears in your document layout.

Drag-and-drop text editing

When editing text, it can be faster to use your mouse to move text instead of using menu commands to cut, copy, and paste it. Here you will use drag-and-drop text editing to highlight words or characters, and then drag them to a different location. You can use this option in both the Story Editor and in layout view, although you need to enable this option in layout view, as it is turned off by default.

1 Choose Edit > Preferences > Type (Windows), or InDesign > Preferences > Type (Mac OS).

2 When the Type Preferences dialog box appears, in the Drag and Drop Text Editing section, select the Enable in layout view check box, and then click OK.

Enabling Drag and Drop text editing in the layout view.

3 Navigate to the smaller headline on page 5. Click and drag to select the words cell phone, without the s, in the headline. With the text selected, click and drag the highlighted words so that they are placed before the word innovation. Release the mouse to relocate these words.

Once text is highlighted, click and drag the highlighted text to a new location
to reposition it.

4 Delete the word in and also the letter s. Also add a space after phone, if necessary. The question mark now follows the word innovation.

The final text after editing.

5 Choose File > Save to save your work.


Special characters and glyphs

You can use the Glyphs panel in InDesign to see all the characters, known as glyphs, within every font. This makes it easy for you to easily access symbols such as those used for dollars, cents, bullets, copyrights, and registered trademark, without needing to remember the appropriate keystrokes. You will use the Glyphs panel to add a trademark symbol to the words Tech Magazine, and you will then use the Find/Change feature to add the symbol to all instances of the name throughout the layout.

1 Choose the Zoom tool () from the Tools panel and increase the magnification so you can clearly see the words Tech Magazine in the top text frame on page 5.

2 Choose the Type tool () from the Tools panel and click after the word Magazine to insert the cursor.

3 Choose Type > Glyphs to open the Glyphs panel. From the Show drop-down menu, choose Symbols and scroll down until you see the trademark glyph (™).

4 In the Glyphs panel, double-click the trademark symbol to place it after the word Magazine.

Insert the trademark glyph from the Glyphs panel into The symbol after it is placed into the layout.
the text.

5 Using the Type tool, highlight the word Magazine along with the trademark glyph you just inserted.

6 Choose Edit > Copy to copy these characters.

7 Choose Edit > Find/Change to open the Find/Change dialog box. Click the Text tab to make it active.

8 In the Find what: text field, type Magazine.

Find the word Magazine, and change it to include the trademark symbol.

9 Click inside the Change to text field and choose Edit > Paste. The notation for the symbol is pasted.

10 Click the Clear Specified Attributes icon () to the right of the Change Format section to remove these attributes.

This is necessary because the Bold attribute remained from a previous use of the Find/Change dialog box.

11 Make sure that Document is chosen from the Search drop-down and that the Whole Word button () is enabled. Click Change All. menu and click Change All. A dialog box appears, indicating that the search is complete and that five changes have been made. Click OK.

12 Click Done. All instances of the words Tech Magazine now include a trademark symbol.

13 Choose File > Save to save your work.

Using the Glyphs panel and glyph sets

You can use the Glyphs panel to create a set of commonly used glyphs, making it easy to access the special characters and symbols you use most frequently.

1 In the Glyphs panel, click the panel menu button (), and then choose New Glyph Set. In the New Glyph Set dialog box, type My Glyphs in the Name text field. Leave the Insert Order drop-down menu at its default, and then click OK.

Creating a new glyph set.

2 In the Glyphs panel, select the trademark symbol, if it is not already selected. Click the panel menu button and choose Add to Glyph Set; then choose My Glyphs from the menu that appears.

3 In the Glyphs panel, click the Show drop-down menu, and choose My Glyphs from the top of the list. You can add as many glyphs as you need to this glyph set. You can add different glyphs from various fonts to a set. You may prefer to add only glyphs from one font to each glyph set so that you are certain that you are inserting the correct version of a glyph whenever you use the glyph set.

Use a custom glyph set to easily access commonly used
symbols and characters.

4 Close the Glyphs panel.

Continue to the next InDesign Tutorial: Text frame options in Indesign >