In addition to the simple, purely local spell checker, the two Chromium-based web browsers, Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, also offer an advanced spell checker that sends texts entered in web applications to the cloud. This can be turned off interactively or by group policy.

Many modern applications are web-based, including those that process sensitive company data. In this case, organizations usually don't want their data to be sent off-site for spell-checking in an uncontrolled manner.

While Google enables basic spell checking by default in Chrome, the default in Edge is Microsoft Editor. This not only corrects spelling with the help of the cloud but also provides a grammar checker and suggestions for style improvements.

This can be changed interactively in the settings under Languages (edge://settings/languages) > Use writing assistance by switching to Basic, which is limited to local functions.

The default Microsoft Editor provides correction help from the cloud the simple mode works locally

The default Microsoft Editor provides correction help from the cloud the simple mode works locally

In Chrome, the corresponding option can also be found under Settings > Languages (chrome://settings/languages) > Spell check. Action is only required here if you want to use the cloud service.

Google Chrome uses the local spell checker by default

Google Chrome uses the local spell checker by default

Control spell checker via group policies

If you want to disable the use of cloud services for spell checking, you don't just enable local modebut you also want to make sure that users can no longer change this configuration. Both browsers offer a group policy setting for this purpose.

Microsoft Edge

In Microsoft, you can find it under Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Microsoft Edge. The setting is called Spell checking provided by Microsoft Editor. Disabling it blocks the cloud service.

Disable the services provided by Microsoft Editor using Group Policy

Disable the services provided by Microsoft Editor using Group Policy

At the same location, there is a setting called Enable spell check. If you disable it, then you disable not only the cloud-based checking but also local checking.

Google Chrome

For Chrome, the setting to disable the cloud spell checker is found under Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Google > Google Chrome and is called Enable or disable spell checking web service.

Setting to control the web based spell checker

Setting to control the web based spell checker

Google also offers the Enable spell check setting, so you can disable this feature completely here as well.

Conclusion

Google and Microsoft are expanding the spell checker in their browsers to include cloud services that offer more extensive language support, such as grammar checkers. However, if you do not want to transfer the content of text fields in browser applications to the cloud, you can disable this feature.

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On the one hand, this can be done interactively. On the other hand, both browsers offer a group policy that not only activates the local check but also prevents users from using the cloud services.

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1 Comment
  1. bgavin 1 month ago

    Great info, thanks!

    When I set up customer machines, I run scripts to do exactly this sort of maintenance.
    Q: is there a command line process to do this?

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