Customising a Microsoft Dictionary to recognise scientific names

I remember some years ago I was able to obtain a list of (apparently) every scientific biological name and was able to customise the MS dictionary on my work computer. This meant that red squiggly lines did not appear under all scientific names. It also spell checked for me when I was typing Latin names. The dictionary was a free download and I think it was issued by Oxford University.
I have been searching online looking for that list or a similar one without success. Would be very appreciative if anyone out there can point me in a direction.


That’s a cool resource I haven’t heard of. I ran into a similar problem and solved it for my own use case (writing a thesis about spiders of Mississippi prairies). I created a Microsoft dictionary for botanical names in the American Southeast and spiders of North America, free to download here (it’s a Patreon link because at the time that was the most convenient way for me to upload it; it is free to download and distribute with or without crediting me). and

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I used to have a bunch of these installed back in the day as well.

GBIF is probably one of the best sources for this sort of thing (as long as it’s dealing with living organisms).

  • GBIF Backbone Taxonomy - This is the primary list of species the GBIF deals with, not a complete list of all species, but it is a large number of them.

This is part of their Darwin Core Archive - here’s the How To Use page.

If you extract the contents you’ll see that the data and manes are in TSV format, which can be imported into Excel (Data - Get External Data - From Text - All formats). The problem that the list of names is so long that it overloads Excel. Mine froze and crashed at around 7 and a half million lines.

I suspect that if you play around with the DCA software there is a way to export a names list that can be converted to a DIC (the file format MS Word uses), but it’s going to be such a large list that it’s unwieldy.

There are other resources, but what I can find is often geographically or taxonomically limited:

If you find a TXT file of the names needed that can be converted to a DIC file and imported into the MS Dictionary (Notepad, among other programs will do this). I’m not sure if it needs to be CSV, Space separated, etc, you’d have to find figure that out.

There’s this too, but it appears to be stand-alone software… it may be possible to extract the relevant info and convert it to a DIC file.

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I use Microsoft Word for Mac. For years (and through many versions of Word) I have added scientific names and proper names to my personal spellcheck dictionary by right-clicking each word with a red squiggly line and choosing “Add to Dictionary.” I don’t know if it works in the PC version. It’s a one-at-a-time process, but eventually many of the names you type will be in there. Be careful to get it right the first time, however, as I haven’t figured out how to un-add a word!