Have you ever accidentally misspelled a word, and then your digital dictionary assumes you want to spell it that way for the rest of your life and keeps suggesting you change it every time you type it? It’s a small thing, but it can be annoying.
Sometimes the tools designed to help us end up making things harder. Digital dictionaries and autocorrect, are perfect examples of that. While the dictionaries have evolved to learn new words as you text and deny autocorrect suggestions, given the speed at which we text, that can result in a dictionary full of misspelled words. Luckily, digital dictionaries installed on the most popular platforms allow you to customize your dictionary to ease the frustration.
If you use an Android tablet or phone that uses the Gboard keyboard, you are able to access your device’s dictionary and delete misspelled words individually.
To delete a learned word, follow these steps:
- Open Settings (gear icon in your app list).
- Scroll down and select System.
- Tap Languages & input, then Virtual keyboard, then Gboard.
- Tap Dictionary, then Personal dictionary.
You can either select all languages or pick a language to view only that language. This will bring up a list of saved words. Select a word and tap the trash can icon in the top-right corner of the screen. Repeat as needed.
If you a typing a message and you see a word suggestion appear that you want to remove from the dictionary, tap and hold the suggested word until Remove suggestion pops up. Tap that to remove the word from the dictionary.
iOS (Apple Devices)
While this feature used to be available on iOS devices, Apple has removed the option to edit individual dictionary entries with an update. There is a workaround that will let you force predictive text to offer you a specific word as you type by creating a manual shortcut.
To create a manual shortcut:
- Open Settings, and tap General.
- Tap Keyboard.
- Tap Text Replacement.
- Tap +.
- Enter the correct spelling in the Phrase field.
- Enter the incorrect spelling or suggestion in the Shortcut field.
- Predictive text will no longer give the wrong suggestion when you type the word from now on. Instead, it will be automatically highlighted and then replaced when you tap space.
However, if you are a long-time user and your dictionary has amassed a number of misspelled entries, you may want to consider resetting your dictionary. This will return you to the dictionary that shipped with the phone, forgetting any word it has learned from you.
To reset your iOS dictionary:
- Open Settings.
- Tap General.
- Tap Transfer or Reset Phone.
- Tap Reset.
- Tap Reset Keyboard Dictionary.
- Enter your PIN if prompted.
- Tap Reset Dictionary.
If you inadvertently accept an incorrect suggestion from predictive text, you can undo it by tapping backspace and selecting the correct one. If the iPhone doesn’t make the right suggestion, continue tapping backspace and manually type the word you wanted.
If you’d like to learn how to add and remove words from your Word or Google Docs dictionaries, check out this article from Tech-Talk, a technology help resource provided by the library.
While digital dictionaries can sometimes seem to waste more time than they save, most platforms offer a way for the user to customize the dictionary to minimize the hassles that can arise when your device learns to misspell words. Is there a platform where you’re experiencing this issue that we haven’t covered? Let us know in the comments and we’ll investigate.