Thursday, 6 March 2014

Disabling Proofing Tools and related options Word 2010 for an Exam

In this post i am going to be describing an issue that has for a long time not been well documented, by either Microsoft or anyone else.

We had an exam requirement for many years for computer based exams to disable the spell check, thesaurus and grammar check facility and to remove the ability to re-enable it.

MS in their infinite wisdom created ADMX/ADM templates that give admins the ability to disable some of the proofing tools in a GPO. However this does not disable the ability to re-enable these options from the GUI. Also in the Word 2010 ADMX templates, MS have REMOVED the option to disable Spell Check!

I found a couple of articles which were very helpful and pretty much gave me the answer i needed. The articles were for Word 2007 so i have ported them to Word 2010.

If you need the 2013/2016 versions then please use the following article.


We found the solution to this issue was something relatively straight forward. 

Microsoft have published on TechNet, a list of user interface items that can be disabled using control ID's and virtual key codes. Link is below.

We are going to use these codes and some other GPO options for Word 2010 to disable the key shortcuts, menu items and the options menu so the users cannot re-enable them.

This guide assumes that you have already downloaded and installed the Office 2010 ADMX templates, available here.

  1. To start with create a new GPO, call it Proofing Tools Disabled.

  2. The first thing that you need to do is decide how you want to link this GPO to the users. There are two options, link to the user accounts in an OU or link to a group of computers in an OU.

  3. If you are linking the GPO to a computers OU you need to enable the following group policy option, if not skip this step. 

  4. COMPUTER CONFIGURATION > Policies > Administrative Templates > System > Group Policy 

    • User Group Policy Loopback processing mode = ENABLED - Merge

  5. Next we need to set the group policy options that disable the proofing tools. Locate the options below.

  6. USER CONFIGURATION > Policies > Administrative Templates > System > Microsoft Word 2010 > Word Options > Proofing

    • Check Grammar with Spelling = Disabled
    • Do Not Enable additional actions in the right-click menu = Enabled
    • Autocorrect / Capitalize first letter of sentance = Disabled
    • Autocorrect / Capitalize names of days = Disabled
    • Autocorrect / Correct TWo INitial CApitals =Disabled
    • Autocorrect / Correct accidental usage of cAPS LOCK key = Disabled
    • Autocorrect / Correct keyboard setting = Disabled
    • Autocorrect / Replace text as you type =Disabled

  7. Next because MS removed the option to disable Spell Check from the GPO, we need to use the registry. Create a GPP for the registry key below.

  8. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Proofing Tools\1.0\Office

    Value Name = WordSpellingOptions
    Value type = REG_DWORD
    Value data = 0 (0=disabled, 5=enabled)

  9. Next we need to use the Disable items in user interface options to remove the parts of the GUI that allow the users to re-enable the options we have set. Locate the group policy setting below.

  10. USER CONFIGURATION > Policies > Administrative Templates > System > Microsoft Word 2010 > Disable Items in User Interface > Custom 

    In Disable Commands add the list below:
    • 2566 
    • 15780 
    • 9056 
    • 6111 
    • 12842
    • 14453 
    • 2815 
    • 3492 
    • 4025 
    • 3997 
    • 3958 
    • 790 
    • 2
    • 3217
    • 2349 
    • 329
    • 3219 
    • 2469 
    • 2788
    • 11323 
    • 7343 
    • 7387 

    In Disable Shortcut Keys add the list below:
    • 118 
    • 254 
    • 79,12 
    • 118,16 
    • 118,4 
Hopefully this helps someone else with this issue.


  1. Lifesaver. Thanks for documenting this fully and sensibly.

  2. Glad i could help! We struggled to find a working solution for some time.

  3. Just to confirm for Step 5, registry is for HKEY_LOCAL_USER or CURRENT_USER?

  4. Yes sorry typo, it should indeed be HKEY_CURRENT_USER, there is NO HKEY_LOCAL_USER.

  5. Thanks Matt for the quick reply about the wrong key name. We are currently using ToggleProof from
    Works great except that Synonyms are still accessible (Right click - Synonyms). We tried editing this in registry but it breaks ToggleProof. Anyone who tried Matt's method as per above confirmed that this is disable? If yes we will move to this solution instead.

    Thanks in advance.

  6. Hiya mate, I've just checked and yes the Synonyms appears to be greyed out in the Right click menu in Word. Hope that helps!

  7. You have two separate lists of IDs for "Disable Commands". Was that intentional or should the second one be "disable shortcut keys"

  8. HI Alex, Yes sorry another typo, pitfalls of copy/paste. It should indeed be "Shortcut Keys"

  9. This still doesn't remove the option to right click in a word autocorrect options...and then enable the settings you want?

  10. I'm not 100% sure what you mean. However the only entry point i have found that is still open is, when you start a sentence it "Auto-capitalizes" the word. Then if you hover the mouse over the lighting symbol appears and if you click it it show you the "Control AutoCorrect Options". From here you can reenable some auto correct stuff, however if you now UNTICK "Show AutoCorrect Options Button" then that entry point disappears.

  11. A comment from a 'non-tech' person here.

    Just imagine if Microsoft included a simple 'on/off' button in the tool bar which had the option right there to enable a password protection to turn the spell checker back on.

    I guess we simple types don't understand the need for the current complexity.

  12. Yes, we also found the access through Auto-capitalize, but once fixed on a user it's hard to replicate. There was a setting for "Auto-capitalize on tables" that was still on even though I'd turned it off in GPO, so that might be the leak. It'd be nice to know for sure if there is a GPO setting to lock it down though.

    There also is another access to proofing options through Language Preferences. You can turn that off by adding 22145 to the disabled commands.

    Even though I couldn't find an exploitable hole in the translation options, they still seemed a little dodgy, so I also locked them down by disabling command 20574

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. What happens if the devices are off network and dont have any GPO's is there a way to disable for standalone machines?

  15. Previouse to my last post can you use the local GPO policys?

    1. Yep, just use adm files, copy them to %systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions and you will have them in your local GPO.

  16. Thanks a lot....really great info.
    I need to turn this on and off, so I have found all the registry settings needed instead of doing it with policyes.

    This is the disable, the enable can easily be made with the above information.











    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Proofing Tools\1.0\Office ]

  17. In Office 2013, having implemented the above, in Review I still have an enabled Define button that allows download free dictionary with Microsoft ID.
    DO you know how to break that?

  18. Anyone has the registry files completed for office 2013? Would be handy..

    1. I will be updating this post very soon for 2013/2016 office. Watch this space :)


  19. Replies
    1. I will be updating this post very soon for 2013/2016 office. Watch this space :)