Learning language plays a significant role for k-12 students. Google Docs integrated a handy Dictionary feature where words can be looked up on the fly. However, some admins worry that students may easily pick up vulgar words such as the F word, especially when the dictionary suggests students offensive synonyms. Instead, they prefer a child-friendly dictionary to the built-in unfiltered dictionary in Docs.

In another example, some admins want to disable the dictionary for the exams, since Dictionary indeed provides informative technical details that ruins the quiz question per se. Take a Physics question “explain what Momentum is” as example. The dictionary already gives the hint “the quantity of motion of a moving body, measured as a product of its mass and velocity.” if the feature is available.

Therefore, I’m going to show you how Safe Doc can disable the dictionary feature in Docs, Slides and Drawings.

The dictionary feature in Docs allows students to learn vulgar languages
The dictionary feature in Docs allows students to learn vulgar languages

Install Safe Doc

The Setup Safe Doc article explained all steps to install Safe Doc on your Chrome browser or Chromebook. Once you have installed the extension, Safe Doc will automatically disable the Dictionary feature. Now verify what has changed in it.

How Safe Doc blocks the dictionary feature?

3 Google apps include the dictionary, Docs, Slides and Drawings. The feature is located in similar menu items. Note not to confuse with the personal dictionary in the spell check which doesn’t query new words and is safe to have.

The dictionary feature can be triggered in 2 ways,

  • by selecting the word, right clicking and selecting Define “xxxx”
  • Click menu Tools > Dictionary.

What Safe Doc does is to remove these menu entries so students won’t discover the feature. Take a look the subtle user interface changes. As you may also notice that the Explore “xxxx” menu is gone, yes, the Explore feature is another “risky” feature for students. You can learn how to disable the Explore feature.

Safe Doc disables the dictionary feature from a context menu in Docs
Safe Doc disables the dictionary feature from a context menu in Docs
Safe Doc disables the Dictionary feature from the menu bar in Slides
Safe Doc disables the Dictionary feature from the menu bar in Slides
Safe Doc disables the Dictionary feature from a context menu in Drawings
Safe Doc disables the Dictionary feature from the menu bar in Slides

How do you look up a word without the built-in dictionary feature then?

Well, it’s your choice. You can go back to the old-fashioned paper dictionary or your school’s dictionary app.


What do you think of the Dictionary feature? How do you manage dictionary?

In other articles, I also share tips on how to block image searching in Docs and block video searching in Slides.

Please leave any thoughts below. Thanks for reading.