Problems with Outlook Express Dictionary after Installing Office 2007

by on October 23, 2007

Q: I just purchased a new Dell Computer with Word 2007 but now my Outlook Express dictionary is in French with no way to switch to English. Is there a patch I can apply because I am disgusted and might removed this version and go back to 2003 version.

A: Your problem well documented online and is indeed caused by having one or more Office 2007 applications installed alongside Outlook Express. Uninstalling the 2007 version and installing Office 2003 is a possible solution. But there are ways to keep Office 2007 and fix Outlook Express.

Microsoft knows about this problem in Office 2007, but apparently does not care enough about its customers to create a real fix. My opinion is that Microsoft wants you to switch to Windows Vista, which replaces Outlook Express with a program called Windows Mail. See the Microsoft article entitled You no longer have spell checking capabilities in some languages in Outlook Express 6.0 after you install the 2007 Microsoft Office system for more information regarding your Outlook Express problem. While it may issue a patch sometime in the future, Microsoft is currently recommending that you install a third-party dictionary for Outlook Express. You can find such software on sites like Another fix that has been suggested on forums and in articles is to install dictionaries from previous versions of Microsoft Office. Take a look at an article called Office 2007 and OE Spell Check for a detailed procedure. In short, you will do a “custom” installation of the older version, only installing the English “proofing tools”. Of course, Microsoft undoubtedly expects you to have a valid software license for the older copy of Office that you will be using. Another solution is for you to start using Outlook instead of Outlook Express.

Incidentally, there was also an issue with calculation Errors in Excel 2007 awhile back. To be fair, Microsoft did patch the Excel problem. Nevertheless, issues such as yours and the Excel 2007 fiasco are why I only use Microsoft products when absolutely necessary! I recommend that you replace Microsoft Office 2007 with a free program called OpenOffice, which is compatible with Word, PowerPoint and Excel files. You may also want to consider switching from Windows to another operating system, like Mac OS X or Linux.

4 Responses to “Problems with Outlook Express Dictionary after Installing Office 2007”

    Scenario: Purchased a brand new computer with XP and activated Office 2007 60-Day trial license (although a full version should still run into the same problem). English dictionary no longer appeared in OE. Downloaded OE English 2.1 dictionary from Softpedia and installed it. From OE, go to Tools -> Spelling -> Select English Dictionary. Now every time you spell check, Outlook Express crashes. Since a copy of Office 2003 is not available, cannot use the proofing tools from that version.

    Solution: If 2007 shared proofing tools are installed, installing a third party spelling dictionary might cause this scenario. Go to Start -> Control Panel -> Add/Remove Programs -> Offce 2007 -> Remove. This will give you the option to change your installed settings. Follow the prompts until you get to the part where you select which parts of office you want to install. Locate Sharing -> Proofing and set entire category to not installed. Let the installation update itself. Now reinstall the English Dictionary from When running the spell checker, Outlook Express should no longer crash. Spell check features still work in Office 2007 as well.


    Hi Mike: Thank you for sharing your firsthand experience with this problem! It seems that removing the Office 2007 proofing tools is an important step. I find it interesting that Microsoft’s official solution doesn’t mention that step. It might be interesting to uninstall the OE English 2.1 Dictionary now that you have removed the Office 2007 proofing tools. Perhaps removing the proofing tools is all that is required to fix this problem on some systems.


    I had a professional clean up my computer. He put office 2007 in. After that my OE spell checker was in French only. I thought it was his fault and refused to pay his fee. Now, after reading about this problem, I have to eat humble pie and pay him after all.Microsoft should have had the courtesy to let everybody know.Most people I work with do not use Microsoft products unless they absolutely have to.


    This solution noted below worked very well for me.

    How to fix the Outlook Express spelling checker when the French Dictionary is the only dictionary
    A few days ago I was working on a new laptop and I noticed that after I installed Office 2007 the English dictionary in Outlook Express had been changed to the French dictionary. I also noticed that I was unable to change it back to the English dictionary. I have been able to fix this in the past by just going in to Outlook and selecting the dictionary that I wanted to use, and it would take care of this for Outlook Express as well. This time was different and it did not fix it. So after some research I found an easy way to fix this. There is a spelling checker you can install for Outlook Express that will reinstall the default English Dictionary. Download Spell Checker For OE.

    NOTE: This application has no spyware or adaware!


    Published Wednesday, January 03, 2007 9:59 AM by dgoldman