Turning off Passive Voice spell-check in Word 2016

First, non SQL Server/PowerShell post…not sure I like this…

tl;dr : File | Options | Proofing | Settings | Passive Sentences

Words: 470

Reading Time: ~2.5 minutes

Warning: This is barely SQL Server/PowerShell related. It is Microsoft product related if that helps?

In the beginning…

One thing that I am starting to appreciate more and more as time goes by is Documentation.

If you’ve ever worked on a system with no documentation in place then you know of the frustration, heartbreak and rage that this instills when you’re trying to get to know the system, or even trying to troubleshoot something on that sytem.

But even the act of writing documentation can have some benefits, I’d argue that you would be hard-pressed to find something that forces you to learn about a topic more than trying to write clear and concise documentation for someone else.

What’s your problem?…

In a strange side-effect of trying to become more responsible as a DBA, I’ve actually inherited a slight case of obsessiveness about certain things.

Words need to be spelled correctly, uppercase words need to be in uppercase, and with regard to this post…


It’s documentation. Now I can understand that, depending on your work environment,  you can write in a more upbeat and active way. But for documentation, I don’t see anything wrong with this sentence:

Provision one (1) domain account, with no privileges, per service that will be run.

More like Passive Aggressive…

I’m fully expecting the paper clip guy to appear any second and start spouting “Looks like you’re writing in the Passive Voice…”

Calm yourself Word…

When this blue squiggly line (it is blue, right? I’m slightly colourblind) started to pop up everywhere on my document, and after checking things three times, I figured enough is enough and went about turning this off.

Here’s how I did it so that you can to!

Now I’m lucky enough that work have MS Word 2016, so if you have an older version YMMV. If you don’t have any version of Word, then your mileage will vary!

  • Go to “File | Options | Proofing” and scroll down to the section marked “When correcting spelling and grammar in Word”.
I’m probably not going to touch all these…
  • Click the “Settings…” button beside the ” Writing Style:” and “Grammer and Style” dropdown box. This should open up the following window.
Passive Sentences!!! Grr!!!
  • Uncheck the “Passive sentences” checkbox and click “OK”. Click “OK” on the “Proofing” window as well and you should get back to your main Word screen.

And here is where the magic happens. Our blue (purple?) squiggly lines have disappeared!


Wrap it up…

You could just click ignore when spell-checking but I tried that. It ignores it once and then the moment that it spell-checks again, it picks up these “errors” again. If there is one thing worse then errors, it’s repeating errors.

Plus isn’t that part of we, as DBAs strive for?

We’re not content with just the quick fix, but want to identify and correct the underlying problem.

Makes it easier in the long run…