Microsoft KB Archive/163057

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Article ID: 163057

Article Last Modified on 1/19/2007


  • Microsoft Word 97 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q163057


If you attempt to change the default language by using the Set Language dialog box (on the Tools menu, point to Language, and click Set Language) or by changing the Normal style, the default language in Word is continuously reset to "no proofing." Changing the default language has no effect.


This problem occurs if you have an old style keyboard driver installed on your computer.

Word bases the default language on the setting for the current keyboard driver. (You choose the current keyboard in the Windows Control Panel.) If the Normal style is defined with a language that is different from the language used for the keyboard setting, Word applies the language of the current keyboard to the Normal style as manual (or "direct") formatting.

For example, if your Normal style is defined as English and you are using a German keyboard, the text in a new document is formatted for German. Word accomplishes this by applying manual formatting of German to the Normal style.


To correct this problem, install Microsoft Word 97 for Windows Service Release 1 (SR- 1). Microsoft Word 97 for Windows Service Release 1 (SR-1) corrects this issue on systems that have a single keyboard driver installed. It does not correct this issue when Windows has multiple keyboard drivers installed.

To work around this problem, manually set the language for text in a document. To do this, use one of the following methods.

Method 1: Manually Format the Text with the Language You Want

Select the text you want to format with a language. To apply the language, point to Language on the Tools menu and click Set Language.

You will have to make this change in each document. Clicking the Default button will not visibly affect new documents.

Method 2: Install and Select the Desired Language Keyboard Driver

Use the control panel to change the default language for new documents.

For information on installing and selecting different language keyboard drivers, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

141306 How to Enable Support for Multiple Languages in Windows 95

Method 3: Manually Format the Language in the Normal Template

Use manual formatting in the Normal template to format the text with a language:

  1. Open the template file.
  2. On the Edit menu, click Select All.
  3. On the Tools menu, point to Language, and click Set Language.
  4. Save and close the template file.

When you create a new document from the Normal template, the language you selected in step 3 will be applied to the text as manual formatting.

Method 4: Press CTRL+SPACEBAR (Reset Character Formatting)

In the new document, select the text and press CTRL+SPACEBAR.

This keystroke will strip from the selected text any manually applied character formatting, such as the language that's used by the keyboard. The selected text's character format, including language, will be changed to the text's style definition.


Microsoft has confirmed this to be a problem in Microsoft Word 97 for Windows. This problem was corrected in Microsoft Word 97 SR-1.

For additional information about SR-1, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

172475 OFF97: How to Obtain and Install MS Office 97 SR-1


When text is formatted for "no proofing," the proofing tools will skip over that text and not check it. The net effect is that words that should be marked as misspelled are not.

Word determines the default language based on the current keyboard driver that is in use. If the current keyboard driver is invalid or outdated, Word will set the default language for the documents as "no proofing."

If you have an outdated keyboard driver installed, you may get the following message when you check the keyboard settings in the Windows Control Panel:

Old style keyboard driver detected, pane disabled.

If you are using Windows 95 perform a quick test to see if the keyboard driver is the problem by starting Windows in Safe Mode.

NOTE: Starting Windows NT in VGA mode will not bypass the keyboard driver.

  1. Restart the computer.
  2. When you see the "Starting Windows 95" message, press F8.
  3. Select the Safe Mode option, and then press Enter.

Windows starts and loads generic drivers.

  1. Start Word.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Language.

If a language other than No Proofing is selected, then the currently installed keyboard driver is the problem and the user should contact their hardware manufacturer for an updated driver.

To determine what keyboard driver is loading, check the Keyboard setting using one of the following methods:

Method 1: Check the Windows Control Panel

  1. Click the Start button, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Keyboard.
  3. Click the General tab.

The name of the keyboard driver appears in the Keyboard Type box.

Method 2: Check the System.ini

  1. Click the Start button, click Run, and type 'sysedit' (without the quotation marks).
  2. Click the system.ini window to bring it to the front.
  3. In the [boot] section will be a keyboard line that should say:

keyboard.drv = keyboard.drv

For additional information, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

141306 How to Enable Support for Multiple Languages in Windows 95

Additional query words: sr1 release1 8.0 8.00 cannot dictionary dictionaries spell spelling English (United States) (British) (Australian) speller red underline auto automatic checker checking spellcheck proof squiggly wavy wrong won't misspelling

Keywords: kbbug kbenv kbfaq kbfix kbhardware kbproof KB163057