Blog How to Use ProWritingAid Getting Started With ProWritingAid's Microsoft Word Add-In

Getting Started With ProWritingAid's Microsoft Word Add-In

Hayley Milliman

Hayley Milliman

Content Lead

Published Jan 07, 2021

ProWritingAid MS Word add-in

ProWritingAid's Microsoft Office Add-In lets you use all of ProWritingAid's powerful features where you write. When installed, you can access the full editing toolbar in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Outlook.

In this article, we'll show you how to get started with the ProWritingAid Microsoft Office Add-In.

Contents:
  1. How to Install the Microsoft Word Add-In
  2. How to Find Your Settings
  3. Using the Realtime Report Suggestions and Filters
  4. How to Navigate Through Suggestions
  5. What Are Goals?
  6. Running Reports in the Word Add-In
  7. Become a Better Writer with the ProWritingAid Word Add-In
  8. ProWritingAid Add-In for Outlook
  9. Troubleshooting Tips

How to Install the Microsoft Word Add-In

Our Office Add-In is for Microsoft Office 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019, running on any version of Microsoft Windows.

Please note that, as Word 2007 is no longer supported by Microsoft, we cannot guarantee the continued functionality of the Add-In in this version.

Step #1: Download the Add-In From ProWritingAid.com

To begin, visit our website to download the Add-In. You should click the button that says "Download ProWritingAid Add-In."

Screen Shot 2020-04-22 at 6.20.43 PM.png

Step #2: Install the Add-In on Your Computer

A small file called ProWritingAidSetup.exe will begin to download.

When it’s finished downloading, click it and a window will open asking you to agree to the license terms and conditions.

Once you click the “agree” box, you will be able to begin installing.

Screen Shot 2020-04-22 at 6.23.54 PM.png

Step #3: Log In to the Add-In

Once the Add-In is successfully installed, restart Microsoft Word.

If you already have Word or Outlook open on your computer, close them completely and then re-open. A box should appear inviting you to start a free trial of ProWritingAid, or to log in:

Screen Shot 2020-04-22 at 6.59.40 PM.png

For those of you that have a license, input your account information and hit "Log in." Then, you'll have immediate access to the tool's full functionality.

NOTE: You no longer need to enter your license code to access the Word Add-In. Log in with your account details, and you'll be all set.

There should be a new heading at the top of your window that says "ProWritingAid". Click the heading and it will open up your ProWritingAid toolbar. If the Add-In isn't there, head to the end of this article for some troubleshooting tips.

Step #4: Start Editing

Once your account information is in place, you're ready to go! You have 20 powerful writing reports at your disposal to make your work stronger.

How to Find Your Settings

At the right-most end of the toolbar, there is a cog icon (or a blue circle icon if your screen is smaller). Click here to see your settings:

using the settings panel in PWA word add-in

From here, you can change your writing style, your update settings, and choose whether you want the Realtime report to launch automatically when you open Word.

You can also decide whether you would like pop-up suggestions to appear within your document, like this:

in text suggestion in the word add in

If you want to see these suggestions but they aren't appearing, go to your settings and check this box:

show suggestion pop-ups setting

Using the Realtime Report Suggestions and Filters

One of the most powerful tools on the ProWritingAid Office Add-In is the Realtime Checker. The Realtime Checker gives you feedback on your work as you write. It catches grammar and style errors like misspelled words, passive voice, hard-to-read constructions, and more. Here's an example of what it looks like:

realtime checker in pwa word add-in

Each suggestion is color coded by type. To fix an error, simply click on the drop-down menu to learn more about the mistake.

You'll be able to see an explanation for why we are suggesting the change. You'll also have the option to make the change, ignore the change, or disable the rule that was triggered. If it's a spelling suggestion, you can choose to add the word to your dictionary here:

improvements panel

When you launch the add-in, the Realtime report will run automatically (unless you have it set not to). You'll see all of your suggestions listed to the right hand side of your screen.

Using the Realtime Filters

In Realtime, you'll see Grammar, Spelling, Style and Passive Voice suggestions.

If you just want to work on one of these, or if there is a category you don't want to see, you can filter your suggestions using the filter menu at the top right of the Realtime panel:

filtering suggestions with the menu

Just click on the checkbox next to the category to remove it from your Realtime report. To add it back, click the checkbox again.

If you see a message that says We have found 22 suggestions, but none of them in the selected filter, check your filter menu to make sure that all of the categories are switched on.

How to Navigate Through Suggestions

You can navigate your suggestions in the sidebar, like this:

navigation tools in the side bar

Click on the curved arrow icon next to a correction to accept the correction and move automatically on to the next suggestion.

You can also work through your suggestions by hovering over highlights in the text itself, like this:

suggestion open for more info

Click on the orange 'i' to see more information about a suggestion, as above.

If you don't want to use the Realtime Checker, you can always click "Stop Realtime," which will stop the automatic reporting. You can turn it back on when you're ready by clicking "Start Realtime" or you can click into the ProWritingAid Toolbar to use any of the other tools.

What Are Goals?

You can also use the side-panel in the Realtime report to track your progress towards your editing goals.

To tailor your goals, select your document type. This will adjust your editing targets to match the averages for your purpose.

selecting document type in goals

Navigating the Toolbar

To work with the Add-In, click on the ProWritingAid tab in the menu at the top of your screen:

prowritingaid tab in word

From here, you'll see a whole toolbar of reports. Depending on the size of your screen, some reports may be collapsed under heading icons, like this:

reports collapsed in ProWritingAid word add-in

These headings house reports relating to the consistency of your writing, like 'Consistency' and 'Acronyms' and to fiction writing, like 'Pacing' and 'Dialogue'.

Running Reports in the Word Add-In

Each ProWritingAid report focuses on a particular area of your writing. Some reports will provide quick fixes that will allow you to polish up a short piece of writing. Other reports will go in depth and reveal areas where you can do more to improve your writing style.

With the Word Add-In, you get access to all of ProWritingAid's reports.

Screen Shot 2020-04-23 at 9.44.59 AM.png

The Core Reports

ProWritingAid's Core Reports are the six reports that will be useful to you, no matter what kind of writer you are. Some provide quick fixes that allow you to polish up a short piece of writing, others go deeper to help you add specificity and strength.

These reports include:

The Summary Report:

We normally suggest running a Summary Report first. At the top of the Summary Report, you'll see your three key document scores for spelling, grammar and style. Then you'll see the things you're doing well, followed by what you can improve. It looks like this:

ProWritingAid Summary Report

There's a lot to unpack there, but it's pretty simple.

Each box signifies a writing goal. You're aiming to get the coloured slider into the target bubble. To learn more about how to improve on each goal, just click the relevant heading. Goals will help you to see what you need to do to improve your writing as quickly as possible. You can use these areas as a checklist to help you create an editing plan. You'll have a better sense of what you need to do and how long it will take you to do it.

Once you've got a good overview of your goals and targets, you can check out our other reports.

The Grammar and Style Report:

The Grammar and Style Report is like Microsoft Word's grammar checker but with superpowers. We use the latest artificial-intelligence algorithms to catch all those issues that Word's grammar checker misses. We also know that there is a lot more to good writing than just correct grammar, and these suggestions are based on the same ideas you would learn in a college writing course.

ProWritingAid Style Report

It suggests a whole range of readability improvements including adverb overuse, passive voice, hidden verbs, long subordinate clauses, and much more.

The Overused Words Report:

There are many words and phrases in the English language that are overused and indicative of poor writing style. Intensifiers like very, for example, actually weaken your writing, whilst hesitant words like just or maybe make your writing feel unconvincing. This report helps you locate and fix those mistakes.

The Combo Report:

The Combo Report lets you combine reports so you click one button to see all results instead of running several reports consecutively. It not only saves you time when editing, but it helps you focus on those areas you know need improvement.

The Thesaurus Report:

ProWritingAid Thesaurus Report

This report highlights the words in your document that have synonyms so that you can go through and make sure that you are using the strongest vocabulary possible.

Top Tip: This is quite a resource-intensive report, so it can be best to run it on shorter sections of your document. If this, or any, report takes a long time to run, highlight a shorter section of your document your cursor and click to run the report to speed things up. Selections of around 10,000 words and under should run pretty smoothly. This works the same for all the reports in the Add-In, except for the Realtime report which can't be run on a single section.

The Repeats Reports

Writers often mistakenly use the same word several times in the span of one paragraph because it’s foremost in their mind. That's where these reports come in: they highlight repeated words and phrases in your document so you can use a more diverse vocabulary.

The All Repeats Report:

The report will highlight all repeats within your document.

The Echoes Report:

The report will highlight all repeats that are within a couple of paragraphs of each other.

The Structure Reports

Unlike other editing tools, ProWritingAid creates a visual representation of your work so you can identify areas for improvement. Included in this section are:

The Sentence Length Report:

ProWritingAid creates a visual representation of your sentence lengths so you can pick out areas where you should add more variety.

The Transitions Report:

Transition words are the road signs in writing—they help your reader move smoothly between ideas. This report helps you identify the percentage of transitions in your sentences.

Readability

The Readability Reports help your reader understand your ideas as easily as possible. Reports in this section include:

The Readability Report:

The ProWritingAid Readability Report looks at factors like sentence length, syllable density, and word familiarity to tell you how easy it is for someone to read your work.

The Sticky Sentences Report:

Sticky sentences are another sign of poor readability. This report highlights your usage of "glue words" so you can make your work more clear.

ProWritingAid Sticky Sentence Report

This report highlights those sentences that contain a very high percentage of glue words (the 200 most common words like and, the, in, etc). Sentences with a high "glue index" will often be awkward or difficult to follow.

The Diction Report:

When it comes to writing, less is more. Make every word count. Why say in close proximity to when you can say near? This report helps you find and eliminate these unnecessarily verbose phrases.

Consistency

The Consistency Check:

This report highlights inconsistencies of spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, and punctuation. It also checks to make sure that you are consistently writing in either American English or British English.

The Acronym Check:

You'll also find the Acronym Check in this section, which helps you make sure your acronyms are all introduced on their first use, as well as being punctuated and capitalised consistently throughout.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a major concern for many people, especially those writing academic works. The plagiarism checks performed by ProWritingAid will check your work against over a billion web pages and articles to make sure that you have correctly cited any unoriginal content.

To use the Plagiarism Report, you'll need a ProWritingAid Premium Plus License. This is a little more expensive than the Premium license, but gives you access to 60 plagiarism checks per year. Find out everything you need to know about our plagiarism checker here.

Take the Time to Explore

Each report is different, and each user has their favorite. Experiment with each of them until you find the ones that work best for you. You can read more about all of our reports here.

Become a Better Writer with the ProWritingAid Word Add-In

ProWritingAid is the only platform that offers world-class grammar and style checking combined with more in-depth reports to help you strengthen your writing. We also include articles, videos, and quizzes to help you learn from your mistakes and improve your craft as you go.

These features are all available to you in the Word Add-In. When ProWritingAid finds a mistake, you can click into to see information about where you erred.

Screen Shot 2020-04-22 at 7.05.56 PM.png

If you want to learn more, you can click "Read Full Article" to get an in-depth explanation of the error, as well as sample sentences and quizzes to help you practice.

For those of you that learn better with video, we are adding more videos to the tool every week. You can click "Watch Video" to access quick, fun tutorials that will teach you more about a specific grammar or style concept.

ProWritingAid + Microsoft Office: Edit Where You Write

Ready to use the ProWritingAid MS Office Add-In? Click here to get started immediately!

ProWritingAid Add-In for Outlook

ProWritingAid in Outlook

The ProWritingAid Add-In will also work in Outlook so you can make sure your emails are just as well-written.

When you open Outlook after installing the Add-In, it will ask you if you would also like to install it here. Click "Yes", and the Add-In will install.

To get started, click on the ProWritingAid icon in the toolbar. You should be prompted to log in with your ProWritingAid details. Then, when you are typing an email, click on the icon again to start seeing suggestions and corrections.

Troubleshooting Tips

Are you having problems getting the Add-In installed? Try following these steps:

  1. Close any open Outlook or Word applications.

  2. Download and run the Repair Tool.

  3. Open Word to see if this fixed the issue, otherwise close Word and continue to the next step.

  4. Go to Add/Remove Programs by clicking on the Windows icon in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen. Type 'Add/Remove Programs' into the search box there and then click on 'Add/Remove' when it appears.

  5. Uninstall the ProWritingAid Office add-on (if there is one already installed) by right clicking on 'ProWritingAid Office Add-on' and then selecting 'uninstall'.

​There are two pieces of Microsoft software that will help the add-on work correctly:

  1. Install the latest .NET runtime by clicking here.

  2. Install the latest VSTO runtime by clicking here.

Once those are installed, re-install the ProWritingAid Office add-on again from our Office Add-on page.

If that doesn't work, please restart your computer and try the steps again.

Still having trouble? Contact us, and we'll be happy to help.


We hope you love using the Word Add-In! You can find out more about our other apps and extensions here, or find out everything you need to know about ProWritingAid in our new eBook, below.

Find everything you need to know about using ProWritingAid in our Ultimate Guide. Download the free eBook now:

How to Use ProWritingAid

How to Use ProWritingAid

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Hayley Milliman

Hayley Milliman

Content Lead

Hayley is the Head of Learning at ProWritingAid. Prior to joining this team, Hayley spent several years as an elementary school teacher and curriculum developer in Memphis, TN. When Hayley isn't hunched over her keyboard, you can find her figure skating at the ice rink or hiking with her dog.

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The online version allows you to change the language eg from American to NZ English. Can we put this feature into the word version?
Hi! Great question. You should be able to change your language preference by clicking your "settings" cog in the ProWritingAid toolbar. If you're still having trouble, shoot us an email at hello@prowritingaid.com
I can't change my language preference in the settings. I only have the option to change the writing style.
Thank you very much for letting us know! We are working on this. Hopefully it will be fixed soon!
Is there a way to disable the Realtime checker every time I open my word document? This is because my laptop lags badly because of the switched-on Realtime. I would still like to have the flexibility to start and end the Realtime anytime I want. Please let me know if this could be done? Thanks!
Hi there! Unfortunately, there is no option for this available at the moment. It is something that we hear fairly often, so it is on our radar, and hopefully we'll be able to issue a resolution sometime in the near future!
Is PWA add on supported on MAC OS?
Yes! Check out our article about our newley re-leased add-in for Word on Macs! https://prowritingaid.com/art/1436/how-to-use-the-prowritingaid-office-add-in-for-mac.aspx
I am triing to install the add in for work (mac) and it fails to follow you directions in step 2. your instructions say "When it’s finished downloading, click it and a window will open asking you to agree to the license terms and conditions." that is not the case. when i click on it a folder called prowritingaidsetup is created. when i open that folder it contains 7 files 0 u0 u1 u2 u3 u4 u5. and that is a far as i can go. please help
Hi there! I'm so sorry you're experiencing this frustration! Can you tell us a bit more about your set up so that we can guide you in the right direction? The add-in for Word on Macs will work with any Word or Mac system newer released after 2016 - could this be the problem? If not, let us know! We'll happily continue to troubleshoot with you. Also feel free to send us a support inquiry to hello@prowritingaid.com. :)
Is there any chance you will be providing an add-in for Corel Word Perfect? It is the only wp software I use unless I absolutely have to use Word and am not happy with that at all.
Hi there! Thanks for the inquiry. Right now, that is not in our immediate plans. Are you able to use Corel Word Perfect with our Desktop App or Web Editor?
How do I change the language to UK English in MS word extension?
What happened to the ProWritingAid plugin for Word on the Mac?
Hi there, what sort of issues are you having with the plugin?
I have installed/uninstalled office add-on several times on my PC after closing everything, rebooting, etc. Just doesn't work. Very frustrating. HELP?!
Hi there, I'm sorry to hear that this is happening. Please, can you email in to hello@prowritingaid.com and our support team will help you from there? The good news is that there are a few possible solutions :)
Thank you for replying Millie! I sent the following message to https://prowritingaid.com/en/Home/Contact "Even after many reboots, installs, and re-installations, following all of the guidance i can find, I cannot see that my Word or any other program in Office 365 is recognizing my new ProWritingAid that I just bought. I am able to run the desktop version but find eliminating the formatting very annoying. Is there some conflict with the new editor built into Word that may be keeping your product from working? Or some other secret code I need to know?" Do I need to send it to the email address you sent as well or will that just cause confusion?
Do I need to send it to the email address you sent as well or will that just cause confusion?
Hi Bill, Thank you very much for sending this over. We have received your email in support and will get back to you as soon as we can. Black Friday has generated a large amount of support emails so a response may take slightly longer than usual.

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