Friday, 5 January 2018

Disabling Proofing Tools and related options Word 2013/ 2016 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. This is the updated post to reflect the changes for 2016.

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. The requirement was to enable it for certain users only for example those within an OU.

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 2016 ADMX templates, MS have REMOVED the option to disable Spell Check!

I wrote an article a couple of years ago and figured as i was working on it i would update it..

I have also created a .REG file that can be downloaded below. It can be used to enable and disable on the fly quickly on standalone devices.


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. The codes below are for 2013, but they work fine with 2016.

We are going to use these codes and some other GPO options for Word 2016 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 2016 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 > Microsoft Word 2016 > Word Options > Proofing

    • Check Grammar with Spelling = Disabled
    • Do Not Enable additional actions in the right-click menu = Enabled
    • Mark Grammar Errors as you type = Disabled
    • Writing Style = Disabled
    • 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 add the following option

      USER CONFIGURATION > Policies > Administrative Templates > System > Microsoft Word 2016 > Miscellaneous

    • Do not use online machine translation = Enabled

  8. 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.

  9. 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)

  10. 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.

  11. USER CONFIGURATION > Policies > Administrative Templates > System > Microsoft Word 2016 > 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. Hi, this is great and works almost perfectly for us but I get a blue squiggly line under "what" if I type "what is there problem" and then I get one under "problem" if I type "What is there problem". The blue squiggly lines only disappear if I type "What is there problem?" If I righclick the word with the blue squiggle, I can choose the correct replacement word which we would obviously prefer to not be able to do. If you have any suggestions for getting rid of the blue squiggles completely that would be great!

    1. Hi Karen, Can you confirm that you have enabled all of the setting's in step 4. What you are describing sounds like the grammar checking is still enabled.

    2. Hi, yes, I've just checked and everything is set per step 4. Thanks

    3. Are you using loopback processing?

    4. Strange, I have just created a brand new GPO following the instructions and couldn't recreate the problem. Best bet may be to follow the guide again and see how you get on.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Ok, thanks, will have another go

  4. I'm getting the same as Karen including the spelling suggestions under the right-click menu.
    I've tried manually following your steps, using an ADMX template, and the registry download you've provided. All do the same.

  5. That blue squiggly is from a feature that not is enabled by default.
    You can easily disable it through GPO for Word 2016.

    Microsoft Word 2016/Word Options/Advanced
    Set the following to disabled:
    Keep track of formatting
    Mark formatting inconsistencies

    And then I want to thank you for a great guide!

  6. Thanks very much for this guide. Everything works great except when typing in a day of the week, or the name of a month. Word will always offer a replacement as you type, but only for those items. Very frustrating!

  7. Thanks for the guide, just out of curiosity my template paths are all Administrative Templates > Microsoft Word 2016 > and not Administrative Templates > System > Microsoft Word 2016 >. Do you know why mine are not located under System? Does it make any difference?

  8. I'm amazed me or anybody else noticed that. It is a typo and your templates are under the correct path

    1. Well there you go. I am not sure if you edited the post or not as step 5 and 7 still show "system" in the path.

  9. Hi Matt,

    Just wanted to comment to say thanks for taking the time to create this. It's been really helpful for me setting up an exam laptop.


  10. I'm doing this for Word 2010 and noticed that under the review tab the language button is still active.

    If you click this and then select Language Preferences it opens the Word Options dialogue where you can re-enable a lot of the proofing options.

    Does anyone know the control ID to disable this button?