FAQ: How to I change the default language in Word for Mac? [Word 2011]

With Office 2011 for Mac, you can check spelling and grammar in languages other than English.

Word 2011 for Mac comes with foreign-language dictionaries such as Czech, French, Russian, and you can also change the ‘brand’ of English (UK, US, Australian).

The default dictionary determines which language’s proofing tools Word uses for spelling and grammar.

You can change Word’s default language dictionary:

  1. Choose Tools→Language.
  2. The Language dialog opens, and you see a list of languages. Select the new language to use and click the Default button.
  3. A pop-up will appear to change the default language.
  4. Click Yes to change Word’s default spelling and grammar checking language to the language you selected. Click OK to close the Language dialog.


  1. Leanne Porter says:

    Can you please advise how to make this change be permanent. I have followed these steps at least 100 times since getting my mac. It removes the red underlining from words I have already changed back to Australian spelling. But the next time I type “organise” or “realise” (e.g.) in the same document or another one it changes the s to a z. I then have to follow the process again to get the word to be recognised. I need a way to be able to change the settings on the computer permanently so that the default language remains as English (AUS) for all office documents. If there is no way to do this I am going to have to throw this stupid computer in the bin as it is driving me insane!

    • Apologies for the delay in reply. Check your Windows regional settings (in XP) or Region and Language (Windows 7, Control Panel), keyboards and languages tab. Make sure all the languages you need are “installed” here. Sometimes documents that people have sent me have a document with a US-based template requires me changing the template language – but for you I’d check your regional settings first.

    • Gerald Turner says:

      It’s hardly the fault of the computer, more likely the Word for Mac programme.

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