Spell check details


Spell check details
Mac Tip #259/06-Sept-2006

Recent Tips have been delving into the mysteries of the spellcheck dictionary in ‘Cocoa’ applications within Mac OS X. Now we need to tidy up some details.

Let’s open TextEdit, which comes installed on all new Macs and is a ‘Cocoa’ application. Type or paste in some text and deliberately include a spelling mistake. When you move on to the next word the typo should be underlined with red dots. If it’s not then either your Mac doesn’t recognise it as a mistake or TextEdit isn’t checking the spelling as you type.

Hold down the Control key and click anywhere on the document to bring up the Contextual menu. Go down to the Spelling submenu and see if there’s a check mark beside Check Spelling as You Type. If there is not, then select that submenu item to activate the feature. A check mark will now appear beside it.

Tell the spellcheck dictionary to forget a word.

Tell the spellcheck dictionary to forget a word.

Now choose the Check Spelling item from the Contextual menu. All spelling errors should be marked with a red underline.

To correct or learn a word Control click on the word itself and choose a replacement, if one is offered, or to Ignore or Learn the spelling.

Another option you may need is to Forget a spelling, but you won’t see it on the menu. This option is relevant when you have asked the dictionary to Learn a word but now need to take that word out of the Dictionary again, for example, when you accidentally ‘Learn’ a mis-spelled word. You can’t remove words supplied with the Dictionary; only those you have added.

To forget a word, first copy it, then Control click on it and call up the Spelling > Spelling… item from the Contextual menu. Paste the word into the text box to the left of the Correct button. Then click the Forget button. The word is removed from the dictionary. The screenshot shows me asking the Dictionary to Forget the word Ngauranga.

Experiment by adding an unusual placename or two. In New Zealand we have thousands to choose from: Paraparaumu, Ngaruawahia, Ngauranga Gorge, Hataitai….

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7 Comments

  1. Miraz Jordan said:

    WordMonkey and Alan: take a look at the files in /Users/[yourname]/Library/Spelling/

    They seem to store the words that have been learned.

    I suggest you only look at those files and don’t try to edit them directly.

    However, having found the mis-spelling you can now go through the Dictionary as I’ve explained above to get the wrongly spelled word out again.

    I just tried it and sure enough a word I added through ‘Learn Spelling’ turned up in one of the files in the Spelling folder. When I typed that word into TextEdit and Control Clicked on it I was able to choose Unlearn Spelling from the Contextual menu.

    Mac OS X 10.5.7.

  2. Alan the Mis-Speller said:

    Same problem as Word Monkey help please as the word is teh instead of the

  3. WordMonkey said:

    How do you correct a word that you accidentally tell the Spellcheck/Dictionary to learn when you do *not* know how you misspelled it?

    I typed a misspelling of the word “familiarity” into an e-mail message, and when the spellchecker highlighted it, I inadvertently hit “Learn” instead of “Correct”.

    But since I don’t know *how* it was misspelled, I can’t re-type the word and ask the Spellchecker/Dictionary to now forget it.

    The only way I can think to correct this is to go into the Dictionary itself (or some sort of customized plist it creates for customized words added to the Dictionary) and remove the misspelled word.

    The question is, where is that located and how do I open it? I’ve looked in all the usual places in the Library, and can’t find the right file(s).

  4. Miraz Jordan said:

    If you make consistent spelling errors like that – as I do – then you may find one of the macro typing programs useful. I’m talking about such software as Typeit4Me, or the one I’ve taken to using, TextExpander. Those aren’t the only ones.

    With TextExpander, for example, you can set up a ‘shortcut’ such as ‘ahev’ and a ‘correction’ such as ‘have’. Then, whenever you type the shortcut the correction magically takes over.

    A further benefit is that you can set up longer chunks of text as the replacement – eg your name and address, and use a short shortcut – eg a couple of letters that wouldn’t normally occur together, and so you can enter large chunks of text just by typing your two letter.

    For example, when I type z tik (without the space) it expands to a link to my blog:

    <a href=”http://mactips.info/blog/”>TiKouka</a>

  5. Steven Berkowitz said:

    I often spell the word ‘have’ ‘as ahev’. The Mac flags this a s a spelling error but only makes correction suggestions that begin with the letter A. How do I add new selling suggestions to the Dictionary? Or can I make ‘ahev’ a shortcut to writing the word have? I ahev tried SpelCatcher but it does not seem to work. See, I just typed it wrong again!

    thanks – - -

    p.s. the spelling dialog box in OS 10.4.9 no longer gives you these options, just a list of possible corections . . .

  6. Steven Berkowitz said:

    I often spell the word ‘have’ ‘as ahev’. The Mac flags this a s a spelling error but only makes correction suggestions that begin with the letter A. How do I add new selling suggestions to the Dictionary? Or can I make ‘ahev’ a shortcut to writing the word have? I ahev tried SpelCatcher but it does not seem to work. See, I just typed it wrong again!

    thanks – - -

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