Passive Voice Checker in Word: Your 2024 Guide to Mastery

Looking to polish up your writing in Word by avoiding the passive voice? The Passive Voice Checker in Word can help you do just that. It’s a handy tool that highlights sentences written in passive voice, prompting you to rephrase them in active voice for clearer, more engaging writing. Ready to learn how to use it? Let’s get started!

Step by Step Tutorial: Using the Passive Voice Checker in Word

Before we dive into the steps, let’s clarify what you’ll achieve by following them. The Passive Voice Checker is a feature in Word that will underline passive sentences with a blue line. This feature is part of Word’s Proofing tools, which help you refine your writing style.

Step 1: Open the Word document you want to check

Open the document you’d like to review. Make sure it’s the one you want to work on, as the Passive Voice Checker will review the entire document.

Step 2: Click on the ‘Review’ tab

At the top of the Word window, click on the ‘Review’ tab. This will bring up a series of options related to document proofing and commenting.

Step 3: Select ‘Language’ then ‘Language Preferences’

In the ‘Language’ section of the ‘Review’ tab, click on ‘Language’ again, and then select ‘Language Preferences’ from the dropdown menu. This will take you to the language settings of Word.

Step 4: Go to the ‘Proofing’ tab

In the Word Options dialog box that appears, click on the ‘Proofing’ tab. This tab contains all the settings related to spelling and grammar checks.

Step 5: Check the box for ‘Check grammar with spelling’

Make sure the checkbox for ‘Check grammar with spelling’ is ticked. This option needs to be on for the Passive Voice Checker to work.

Step 6: Click on ‘Settings’ next to ‘Writing Style’

Still in the ‘Proofing’ tab, next to ‘Writing Style’, click on ‘Settings’. This will allow you to customize the grammar checks.

Step 7: Scroll down to ‘Style’ and check ‘Passive sentences’

In the Grammar Settings dialog box, scroll down to the ‘Style’ section. Make sure the box for ‘Passive sentences’ is checked. This activates the Passive Voice Checker.

Step 8: Click ‘OK’ and return to your document

After making sure the ‘Passive sentences’ option is checked, click ‘OK’ to close the Grammar Settings dialog box, then click ‘OK’ again in the Word Options dialog box to return to your document.

Once you’ve completed these steps, Word will underline passive sentences in blue. You can then revise these sentences to be more active, making your writing clearer and more direct.

Tips for Using the Passive Voice Checker in Word

  • Make sure your Word software is updated for the best performance of the Passive Voice Checker.
  • Remember that not all passive sentences need to be changed; sometimes, passive voice is appropriate.
  • Use the Passive Voice Checker as a guide, not a strict rule; always consider the context of your writing.
  • Review the suggestions from the Passive Voice Checker one by one; don’t accept all changes blindly.
  • Consider reading up on the difference between active and passive voice to better understand the suggestions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is passive voice?

Passive voice occurs when the subject of the sentence is acted upon rather than doing the acting. For example, “The ball was thrown by John” is passive, while “John threw the ball” is active.

Why should I avoid passive voice?

While passive voice isn’t grammatically incorrect, it’s often less direct and less engaging than active voice. It can also make your writing less clear.

Can I use the Passive Voice Checker on Word for Mac?

Yes, the Passive Voice Checker is available on Word for Mac as well. The steps to access it are similar to those for Word on Windows.

Does the Passive Voice Checker work in other languages?

The Passive Voice Checker in Word primarily works for English. However, Word offers proofing tools for some other languages, which may include passive voice checks.

Can the Passive Voice Checker identify all passive sentences correctly?

No tool is perfect, and the Passive Voice Checker might not catch every passive sentence. It’s essential to review its suggestions and apply your judgment.


  1. Open the document in Word.
  2. Click on ‘Review’.
  3. Select ‘Language’, then ‘Language Preferences’.
  4. Go to ‘Proofing’.
  5. Check ‘Check grammar with spelling’.
  6. Click ‘Settings’ next to ‘Writing Style’.
  7. Check ‘Passive sentences’.
  8. Click ‘OK’ and return to the document.


In conclusion, the Passive Voice Checker in Word is a fantastic tool for enhancing your writing by encouraging more active language. By following the simple steps outlined above, you can effectively utilize this feature to make your writing more dynamic and engaging. Remember, while passive voice has its place, active voice often makes your points clearer and your sentences more impactful.

Moreover, this tool is not just for professional writers or students; anyone who writes in Word can benefit from understanding the difference between active and passive voice. So, the next time you’re drafting a report, essay, or even an email, give the Passive Voice Checker a try. It might just take your writing to the next level. And who knows? With practice, you might find yourself naturally writing in active voice, making the checker a trusty guide rather than a necessity. Happy writing!

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