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How to use spell check in Word 2007 and Word 2010

In this article we’re going to talk about using the spell checker function in Word, including how to find it, how to use it, and when not to believe it. This article works with Word 2007 and Word 2010 – screen shots are taken from Word 2010. I have written about Word 2013 separately as it’s a bit different.

What is Spell Check?

Spell check is a function in Word that will check both the spelling and appropriate word use in your document. It’s not perfect, but it will pick up all sorts of errors and typos that you might not realise you’ve made.

Spell Check will go through your document and highlight any words that it thinks are spelled incorrectly. If it can, it will offer alternative spellings for you to choose from. You can then choose to change the word to one of its suggestions, change all instances of that word to the suggestion, or ignore the “error” once or always.

We usually run a spell check after writing a document, although you can ask Word to check spellings as you go along (I personally find this distracting). It’s worth running it even if you think your writing is perfect and you’ve read through the document finding no mistakes – there’s always something, and that’s why, even though I’m an editor, I use spell check on my own posts and as a final check on documents I’ve edited, and why I have an editor for my books!

How do I start Spell Check?

We run Spell Check from the Review tab in Word:

How to start spell check

The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted the same icon in the Quick Access Toolbar at the very top of the document. I’ve added the Spell Check button there because I use it a lot. If you want to learn how to add buttons to the QAT, read this article.

With your cursor at the beginning of the document, click on the Spelling and Grammar button. Word will highlight each word that it thinks is incorrect, starting with the first one:

spell check in action

Here, I started at the beginning of the text, but you’ll notice that it’s missed out “peace of txt” even though that is clearly wrong. We’ll look at that in a minute, but let’s concentrate on what happens when it gets it right.

What options does Spell Check give you?

Spell Check has highlighted “misteaks” and you can see in the Suggestions box below that it’s suggested the closest word first, then a few other options. “Mistakes” is highlighted, but if I did mean “mistake” or “mistreats”, I can click on one of those.

To the right, we have some buttons – Ignore Once / Ignore All / Add to Dictionary are to be used when we know what we typed is correct and we want to keep it; Change / Change All / AutoCorrect will allow us to make that change:

  • Ignore Once will ignore just that instance of the word in question
  • Ignore All will ignore that exact word throughout the rest of the piece
  • Add to Dictionary will add that exact word to the Spell Check dictionary so it will never ask you ever again if you’ve miss-spelled it. I have used this for my name in the past, which is why this Spell Check process won’t pick up “Broomfield” or “Dexter”, and I also add in commonly used technical terms and jargon that comes up a lot in the texts I work with.
  • Change will change just that instance of “misteaks” to “mistakes”. Any other examples will stay as they are
  • Change All will change every instance of “misteaks” to “mistakes”.
  • AutoCorrect brings up the AutoCorrect screen (see this article for more on AutoCorrect) which allows you to set up an automatic correction for the future, so whenever you type “misteaks” it will change to “mistakes”. This is really useful if you notice that you’re mistyping a word regularly.

I’m going to click on Change All, and this will automatically change all examples of “misteaks” to “mistakes” in the text. Note, however, that it will not change “misteak” – it only looks for the exact same word. This includes capital letters, so it will now flag up “Misteaks” as a new error and make some new suggestions, the second of which is the correct one. I do tend to click on Change All, so that I save time and mouse clicks correcting the same form of the same word over and over again.

Now, let’s see what else Spell Check will look at.

It will notice if you’ve missed out an apostrophe, even if the word “wont” is a word in itself:

spell check apostrophe

And it will check incorrect punctuation, too:

spell check punctuation

Finally. you can ask Spell Check to check your grammar, too. Here, it’s picked up that I started a sentence with a lower-case letter:

spell check grammar check

There’s a caveat here, though: I find the grammar checker to be quite rigid and a bit odd. The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted that I have Check grammar ticked in the above image but not in the others – this is because I tend to turn off the grammar checker when I’m working on my own texts and other people’s. It’s up to you whether you do that, and instructions for tweaking the Spell Checker will appear in a later article.

What if I change my mind or make a mistake?

If you make a misteak, oops, sorry, mistake when you’re changing words in Spell Check, there’s a handy button that will take you back.

Here, I’ve clicked on the first suggestion for “Misteaks” which was “MI steaks”. Oops. I only see it when I’ve already hit Change All. But I can click the Undo button to take me back to that set of choices, and you can click the Undo button more than once.

undo spell check

Having pressed Undo, we’re back to looking at “Misteaks” instead:

spell check undone

Does Spell Check ever get it wrong?

In our example, Spell Check has missed the obviously incorrect phrase “peace of txt”:

spell check in action

It does sometimes notice when you use an incorrect but valid word (i.e. it is actually a word in itself), but not always. I’m guessing that it’s ignored “txt” because that’s a file extension (like .doc) which is used when saving documents. So Spell Check hasn’t picked that up, and you or your editor will have to notice it yourselves!

It also uses rules which don’t match standard common usage. Right up until Word 2013, it thinks that proofreader is two words, hyphenated:

Spell check getting it wrong

This makes it quite embarrassing when I’m checking a client’s acknowledgements, they thank me for proofreading, and then have spell-checked their work, so I have to change it back to proofreading.

Word is also not keen on swear words, and can give amusing alternatives if you try that …

Help – my Spell Check’s making everything go into American English!

Your Spell Checker will work with whatever variety of English (or any other language) that your text is set to. So if you have your text set to be in American English, that’s the language your Spell Check will use. Learn how to change the language of your document and your editing language  – and watch out, as your comment boxes might appear in another language, too, which will upset your Spell Checker – use this article to make sure your comment language matches the rest of the document.

Can I use spell check in other applications as well as Word?

Many applications have spell check functions. For example, the WordPress editor that I’m using to write this has a spell check button. so does my MailChimp newsletter editor, my email editor and Excel and PowerPoint. Wherever you see a button like this, you should find a spell check option:

spell check icon

In this article we’ve looked at what Spell Check is, how to access it, how to ignore and change words, and some things to watch out for. In future articles I’ll be sharing how to tweak your Spell Check settings, how to tell Spell Check NOT to look at particular text, and when to use Spell Check when you’re working with an editor. Oh, and there will be a parallel post on Spell Check in Word 2013, too!

———————

This is part of my series on how to avoid time-consuming “short cuts” and use Word in the right way to maximise your time and improve the look of your documents. If you’ve enjoyed the post or found it useful, please use the sharing buttons below to share it via your social media networks – thank you!

Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Word currently in use – Word 2007 and Word 2010 for PC. Mac compatible versions of Word should have similar options. Always save a copy of your document before manipulating it. I bear no responsibility for any pickles you might get yourself into!

Other useful posts on this blog

Using Spell Check in Word 2013

How to change the language of your Word document

How to change your editing language

How to change the language of your comment boxes

How to use AutoCorrect

How to add buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar

Find all the short cuts here … and see the full resource guide here.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2014 in Errors, New skills, Short cuts, Word, Writing

 

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How to use spell check in Word 2013

Because Spell Check looks different in Word 2013, here is a special article just on that version of Word. It should be read alongside the more detailed post on Spell Check for Word 2007 and Word 2010 which you can find here.

What is Spell Check?

Spell Check in Word checks  the spelling and grammar in your document, highlighting any words that it thinks are spelled incorrectly and offering alternatives.

It’s always worth using Spell Check, even if you’re an accomplished writer or feel you can edit your own work – we all make mistakes, and this will catch many of them.

How do I start Spell Check?

We run Spell Check from the Review tab in Word:

Word 2013 spell check

Note: I’ve added the Spell Check button there because I use it a lot. If you want to learn how to add buttons to the QAT, read this article.

With your cursor at the beginning of the document, click on the Spelling and Grammar button. Word will highlight each word that it thinks is incorrect, starting with the first one:

Word 2013 spell check

Here, I started at the beginning of the text, but you’ll notice that it’s missed out “peace of txt” – see more detail in the main article on this.

What options does Spell Check give you?

  • Ignore Once ignores that instance of the word in question
  • Ignore All ignores that exact word throughout the rest of the piece
  • If you own a copy of Word 2013 outright or have a subscription and are logged in, Add to Dictionary will add that exact word to the Spell Check dictionary so it will never ask you ever again if you’ve miss-spelled it. I have used this for my name in the past, which is why this Spell Check process won’t pick up “Broomfield” or “Dexter”, and I also add in commonly used technical terms and jargon that comes up a lot in the texts I work with.
  • Change changes that instance of “misteaks” to “mistakes”. Any other examples will stay as they are
  • Change All changes every instance of “misteaks” to “mistakes”.
  • If you own a copy of Word 2013 outright or have a subscription and are logged into your Microsoft Office account, AutoCorrect is available and brings up the AutoCorrect screen (see this article for more on AutoCorrect) which allows you to set up an automatic correction for the future, so whenever you type “misteaks” it will change to “mistakes”. This is really useful if you notice that you’re mistyping a word regularly.

Grammar check in Word 2013

Grammar check not only highlights where you’ve gone wrong, but gives you a little lesson in the Spell Check panel, too:

Word 2013 spell check grammar check

I find the grammar checker to be quite rigid and a bit odd. It’s up to you whether you allow grammar checking, and instructions for tweaking the Spell Checker will appear in a later article.

What if I change my mind or make a mistake?

In Word 2007 and 2010 there was a handy button in the Spell Check dialogue box that allowed you to undo previous changes. This has gone in Word 2013, so if you realise you’ve made a mistake, you will need to use the Undo button (or press Control-Z) to go back to correct your mistake.

Does Spell Check ever get it wrong?

In short – yes. See the main article for more explanation and examples.

Help – my Spell Check’s making everything go into American English!

Your Spell Checker will work with whatever variety of English (or any other language) that your text is set to. So if you have your text set to be in American English, that’s the language your Spell Check will use. Learn how to change the language of your document and your editing language  – and watch out, as your comment boxes might appear in another language, too, which will upset your Spell Checker – use this article to make sure your comment language matches the rest of the document.

Can I use spell check in other applications ?

Wherever you see a button like this, you should find a spell check option:

spell check icon

In this article we’ve looked at Spell Check in Word 2013 and how it differs from previous versions. In future articles I’ll be sharing how to tweak your Spell Check settings, how to tell Spell Check NOT to look at particular text, and when to use Spell Check when you’re working with an editor. Oh, and there will be a parallel post on Spell Check in Word 2013, too!

———————

This is part of my series on how to avoid time-consuming “short cuts” and use Word in the right way to maximise your time and improve the look of your documents. If you’ve enjoyed the post or found it useful, please use the sharing buttons below to share it via your social media networks – thank you!

Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Word currently in use – Word 2007 and Word 2010 for PC. Mac compatible versions of Word should have similar options. Always save a copy of your document before manipulating it. I bear no responsibility for any pickles you might get yourself into!

Other useful posts on this blog

Spell Check in Word 2007 and Word 2010

How to change the language of your Word document

How to change your editing language

How to change the language of your comment boxes

How to use AutoCorrect

How to add buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar

Find all the short cuts here … and see the full resource guide here.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 15, 2014 in Errors, New skills, Short cuts, Word, Writing

 

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How do I view two sheets of an Excel workbook at the same time?

You’re looking at an Excel spreadsheet workbook which has more than one individual sheet, accessible via clicking on tabs at the bottom of the workbook. This article shows you how to view two different sheets in the same workbook side by side on the page. This article is valid for Excel 2007, Excel 2010 and Excel 2013. It follows on from my article on different ways to view multiple spreadsheets at the same time, and you may wish to refer to that article for further details on the options.

How do I view multiple Excel workbook sheets side by side?

First of all, open up your workbook. You can view different sheets of the workbook by clicking on the tabs at the bottom:

Excel tab to view sheets

However, when you do this, the new sheet is displayed in the window, and you can’t see Sheet1 any more. To be able to view both (or more) at the same time, you will need to create a new window containing the second sheet, and then display them next to each other.

How do I create a new duplicate window in Excel?

First, create a new window. Go into the View tab then click on the New Window button:

Excel new window

This will generate a new window, on top of the first one and identical to it (you can check that you have two open by clicking on the Excel button at the bottom of the screen:

Excel check two files are open

Now, in the window you have just created, click on the tab for the second sheet that you wish to view (in this case, Sheet2):

Excel tab to view sheets

This will display Sheet2 in the new window:

Excel view sheet2

If you want to view more than two sheets, follow this process for each additional sheet that you wish to view.

What are my options for viewing multiple sheets of one workbook in Excel?

Once you’ve got two windows, one displaying the first sheet and one displaying the second, you can view them side by side, or in tiles, or however you choose. In the View tab, click on either View Side by Side or Arrange All to select your options (see this previous article for details on all of the options):

Excel choose options for displaying multiple sheets

Note that if you choose Arrange All, you must make sure that you tick Windows of active workbook:

Excel view multiple sheets active workbook

In this case, I’ve chosen Arrange All – Vertical, and here are my two sheets of my workbook, displayed next to each other:

17 view multiple sheets in a workbook

For details of all of these options and what they do, please see my post on viewing multiple spreadsheets at the same time.

How do I get back to viewing only one sheet at a time?

If you want to return to a full-screen view of a particular spreadsheet, simply double-click on the title bar of your spreadsheet (by its name) and it will expand and be the only one visible:

return to single sheet view

In this article, we’ve learned how to view two or more sheets belonging to one Excel workbook on the screen at the same time, and how to return to a single sheet view.

If you’ve enjoyed this article and found it useful, please take a moment to share it using the buttons below!

Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Excel currently in use – Excel 2007, Excel 2010 and Excel 2013, all for PC. Mac compatible versions of Excel should have similar options. Always save a copy of your document before manipulating it. I bear no responsibility for any pickles you might get yourself into!

Find all the short cuts here … and view the blog resource guide here.

Other useful posts on this blog:

How do I view two Excel spreadsheets at a time?

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Excel, New skills, Short cuts

 

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How do I view two Excel spreadsheets at a time?

You’re looking at a spreadsheet and you want to compare it to another one. In Word, it’s easy to line up two separate documents side by side to look at them both. In Excel – not so easy. This article explains how you can view two Excel spreadsheets next to each other on your screen and compare the two spreadsheets easily (or more, if you want!). Next week, we’re looking at how to view two sheets from the same workbook side by side, too! This article is valid for Excel 2007, Excel 2010 and Excel 2013 to some extent. The problem doesn’t exist in Excel 2013 as you can move spreadsheets around just like you can in Word, however the options still exist for arranging your multiple views (thanks to Alison Lees for pointing out the resolution of the problem).

Why can’t I view two Excel files on the same screen?

If you’re used to working with Word, you’ll know that if you have two Word documents open in any version of Word, you can pick them both up by the top bar (I usually do it near to the name of the document), slide them across to the left and right until they ping back and fill half of the screen …

Two Word documents on one screen

… and end up with two documents next to each other (you can, of course, move the boundary between them to make one bigger and one smaller):

Two Word documents showing side by side

But, if you’ve ever tried to do this with two Excel spreadsheets, you’ll have found that you move one over …

Moving an excel spreadsheet

… and the other one moves to sit underneath it, inaccessible and impossible to view at the same time as, say, Spreadsheet 1:

Second spreadsheet hidden

Move Spreadsheet 2 across to the right and Spreadsheet 1 will follow it. Grrr!

I’m going to show you how you can view both (or even lots of) spreadsheets on the same screen, in various arrangements, and then return to viewing only one. And next week I’ll show you how you can view two sheets from one workbook side by side.

The quick way to view two spreadsheets side by side

We’re going to look at the View tab here. In the View tab, you’ll find a button labelled View Side by Side.

view side by side excel

If you have two spreadsheets open in, say, Excel 2010 (from which these screenshots are taken, but the process is the same for Excel 2007, 2010 and 2013), pressing this button will show you both spreadsheets, one above the other (this always reminds me of playing competitive driving games on the games console):

View side by side - result excel

You can see that the Synchronous Scrolling button is highlighted in the image above. This is a really useful function – if you have both spreadsheets lined up to start with (i.e. you can see Column A and Line 1 at the top left of both), if this button is showing in yellow, scrolling in one spreadsheet (the active one has the scroll bar) will move the other spreadsheet up and down or left and right at the same time:

view side by side synchronous scrolling

However, if you don’t want to use this feature, you can click on the Synchronous Scrolling button to turn it white, and then your two spreadsheets can be scrolled independently (the scroll bar still displays on the active spreadsheet, i.e. the one you’ve clicked on):

view side by side remove synchronous scrolling

Note that synchronous scrolling only works in this View Side by Side option, so if that’s important to you, choose this option.

But what if you want to view the sheets side by side, or more than two in a tiled layout (I’ve got a widescreen monitor so I always want to view side by side)? Read on for that option  …

How do I view two spreadsheets next to each other or in a tiled layout?

To view your multiple spreadsheets arranged next to each other, to swap to the horizontal view we just looked at, or to use the cascade option, stay in the View tab and the same area but click on the Arrange All button:

excel arrange all button

This will give you a range of options for displaying the spreadsheets that you currently have open:

excel arrange all button options

Let’s look at these in turn …

Arrange all – Tiled

If you have two spreadsheets open, the Tiled option in Arrange All will simply show them arranged vertically, i.e. next to each other. All of my other examples feature two spreadsheets, but to demonstrate the Tiled option, here are four spreadsheets:

excel arrange all Tiled option

Note that the spreadsheets arrange themselves in the order in which you have them open, so if Spreadsheet 4 is the last one you looked at, that will appear top left. You can expand and move the individual spreadsheets, then return to Arrange All – Tiled to click them back into position again.

Arrange all – Horizontal

If you choose the Horizontal option in Arrange All, your spreadsheets will appear on top of each other, with the split between them horizontal:

12 arrange all horizontal

Note here that I had Spreadsheet 2 active (visible) when I chose this option, so it appears at the top. To choose which one appears at the top, have that particular spreadsheet visible and active when you click on the Arrange All button.

Arrange All – Vertical

Choosing the Vertical option in Arrange All gives you the two (or more) spreadsheets arranged next to each other, with the split between them vertical:

excel arrange all vertical option

This is how I prefer to view them.

Arrange All – Cascade

I find this one a bit odd. When you choose the Cascade option in Arrange All, the windows containing the individual spreadsheets all appear on top of each other, with a little bit of one poking out from underneath the active one. Here, Spreadsheet 1 is just showing at the top, but if I click on Spreadsheet 1, Spreadsheet 2 will be sticking out at the bottom. It’s odd, but there must be a reason for it, or Excel wouldn’t offer it:

excel arrange all cascade option

How do I get back to viewing only one spreadsheet at a time?

If you want to return to a full-screen view of a particular spreadsheet, simply double-click on the title bar of your spreadsheet (by its name) and it will expand and be the only one visible:

excel return to single sheet view

In this article, we’ve learned how to view two or more Excel spreadsheets on the screen at the same time, and how to return to a single spreadsheet view.

If you’ve enjoyed this article and found it useful, please take a moment to share it using the buttons below!

Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Excel currently in use – Excel 2007, Excel 2010 and Excel 2013, all for PC. Mac compatible versions of Excel should have similar options. Always save a copy of your document before manipulating it. I bear no responsibility for any pickles you might get yourself into!

Find all the short cuts here … and view the blog resource guide here.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Excel, New skills, Short cuts

 

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Mrs or Ms?

DictionariesI got married recently (hooray!) and when I was buying a new camera to take on our honeymoon, first of all I confused the shop assistant by claiming that the camera was reserved in my new name (Liz Dexter) when my husband had temporarily forgotten he’d married me two days previously and had reserved it in my old name (Liz Broomfield), and then I confused her further, when she was filling in my details on her computer, by stating that my title was “Ms”. She’d never heard of this title, or didn’t know what it signified, and so I thought it would be a handy thing to explain …

Mrs denotes a married woman. English-speaking countries are some of the only places in the world where you can tell whether a woman is married just from her title. Women in opposite-sex and same-sex marriages are free to use this title – some do, some don’t.

Ms denotes a woman. Women in opposite-sex and same-sex marriages are free to use this title – some do, some don’t. You can’t tell if a Ms Dexter is single, married, divorced, separated … anything apart from the fact that she’s a woman. It’s like Mr in that respect.

To get slightly political, people do tend to assume that someone using Ms is not yet married or perhaps divorced. I have no objection to being Mr and Mrs Dexter and to people knowing I am married to Mr Dexter if we meet people out and about and we’re together, or we’re signing up for something in both our names, like the house insurance. But if I’m signing up to a service or buying something independently, I title myself Ms. If more married women do that, maybe eventually we won’t have to have people knowing our marital status when it’s not necessary.

Small print: that’s my choice; I respect people’s right to call themselves whatever they want to call themselves. This post is for informative purposes only. Oh and because I got married!

*Edited to add: please note – this is part of my series of posts on pairs of words which get easily confused and was initiated by my discovery of someone not having any idea what “Ms” meant. This is not any kind of (gender) political manifesto and was intended to provide a light-hearted mention of my recent wedding on my blog, plus to firm up the association of my blog and website with my new name. I’m not trying to incite long and heated discussion on gender politics, naming or patriarchy, or get into long discussions on the background to these two names. Thank you!*

Mrs Liz Dexter

Mrs Liz Dexter

Ms Liz Dexter

Ms Liz Dexter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.

 

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Formally or formerly?

DictionariesOne of my readers, Graham, suggested this troublesome pair – I always l like to receive suggestions of pairs to write about, so do drop me a line if you’ve checked the index first and I haven’t written about your favourite!

Formally is an adverb formed from the adjective formal, and means being done by the rules of convention or etiquette, officially recognised, with a conventional structure, form or set of rules. “He replied formally to her gilt-edged invitation”, “I was dressed formally as it was a high-class event run by the establishment!.

Formerly is an adverb that means in the past; before whatever is being discussed now.

“Formerly, for example in the 19th century, social visits were done much more formally, according to established rules and customs. Now everything is much more relaxed and informal, with people dropping in to see each other without having to leave a card in the hall first.”

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.

 

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Phase or faze?

DictionariesI find these two words being mixed up quite commonly, and it’s one of those ones that … I won’t say it annoys me, because I try to remain calm and focused on the sense of the writing in the face of errors, but it sometimes makes me a bit tense.

The incorrect usage is always in one direction of the confusion. I’ll show you what I mean …

A phase is a distinct period of time or stage (“we are doing the building work in three phases: foundations, walls and roof, with gaps to raise money in between”) and it has some complicated scientific meanings which are related to this idea of separateness and which we probably don’t need to go into here.* The verb to phase (in/out) means to carry out a process gradually (“We are phasing in the new hires so everybody doesn’t arrive at once”) and is used in those scientific contexts I talk about below.

What phased does not mean is confused or discombobulated.

To faze is to confuse, disturb or discombobulate – so the past tense is fazed. “I was fazed by the information he was bombarding me with and had to take a break”.

Faze – confuse. Phase – time period or other separate thing.

“I was not fazed when the phases of the traffic lights were altered, because I had read the notices and knew it was about to happen.”

*Oh, alright then, if you insist: in physics, it’s the relationship in time between the cycles of a system and a fixed point in time; in chemistry it’s a distinct form of matter that is separate from other forms in terms of its surface; and in zoology, it’s the variations in an animal’s colouring depending on the seasons or genetics.

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Errors, Language use, Troublesome pairs, Writing

 

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