One last thought about spell checking.

I mentioned a few days ago how much I depend on red-squiggle on-the-fly spelling and grammar checking, especially in Word.

From time to time, though, I have to admit that I've typed a word I thought might be misspelled and then sat, waiting to see if the red squiggle was going to show up or not. Sometimes, I've even been known to type some garbage like "zyzxzzpz" to see if it gets squiggled, thus letting me know that the spell checker wasn't just still in the background doing its work.

Until I discovered the spelling icon in the Word status bar, that is.

One of the components of the on-the-fly spell checker is an icon in the Word status bar. This icon shows the status of the spelling and grammar checker: whether it is still working or not, and whether there are errors in the document or not. Think of it as a subtle "The spelling check is complete" dialog that doesn’t interrupt your work process.

Here's how it works. Look for the icon at the bottom of the Word window that looks kind of like a book. It will likely be in one of three states: an animated pencil drawing on it, a big red X over it, or a blue checkmark on it.

The pencil indicates that the spelling and grammar checker is still working, the red X means that there are errors in the document (click it to navigate between them), and the blue checkmark means that the check is complete and there are no errors.

Armed with this information, I know when I see the blue checkmark that I'm ready to print or send off my document. (Or publish this blog post--there it is. Go!)