Choose your language with care or spellcheck may bite

Choose your language with care or spellcheck may bite
Quick Mac Tip, 14 August 2011

The new autocorrect feature in Lion is a very fine thing, unless it speaks American and you don’t. If you use British, Australian or another form of English you may not always want to look like you write American. In that case Autocorrect can just drive you batty. Until you discover where to change it. Alan Macdougall made the discovery and shares it here.

This guest Tip was contributed by Alan Macdougall.

Annoyed with being auto-corrected?

Using Lion, and getting annoyed with being auto-corrected to US English in Safari and other apps?

Find your language flavours of choice in System Preferences and promote them ahead of US English. Here’s how.

Set your Autocorrect Language in System Preferences.

Set your Autocorrect Language in System Preferences.

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click on the Language & Text preference.
  3. Click on the Text tab.
  4. Go to Set Up… at the bottom of the Spelling popup menu.
  5. Drag the languages into the order you prefer.
  6. Uncheck any languages you don’t want spell-checked.
  7. Click the Done button.

Restart your app, and away you go.

Now enjoy spellchecks that don’t flag the wrong words.

Automatic by Language

Note: if you choose Automatic by Language then it will point out your US English spellings (like “authorize”) but it won’t autocorrect them for you.

If you always want your accidental Americanisms (or Britishisms) autocorrected you must specifically choose the spelling language you want.

Take a Tip: use TextExpander to avoid spelling woes

TextExpander types text for you. I wrote about it in several places, but start here: Book Review: Take Control of TextExpander. The software’s inexpensive and saves all kinds of headaches and time. [If you buy the book or the software through my affiliate links on that page the extra income helps me make more and better Tips.]

Tell us in the comments how you’re doing with checking spelling in Lion.

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  1. Fred said:

    But there are no languages listed in my “drag the languages into the order you prefer…” panel. What do I do? I live in Australia, but want US English spell checking, and programs keep reverting to “Australian English”.

    • Miraz Jordan said:

      That’s odd Fred. Is it possible that whoever installed Lion on your machine did some kind of custom install that excluded most of the languages? Or have you perhaps run software that would remove languages?

  2. Mac User said:

    You know, in a way you don’t need TextExpander to correct spelling. In the Language & Text feature you can add your own snippets and it works just like TextExpander.
    Of course TE has more options, but the Lang & Text does the basic and most important which is to substitute a given acronym for whatever you want, same as in TE.

    • Miraz Jordan said:

      Thanks Mac User, that’s a good reminder. TextExpander has more power and options, but people who just want a few common typos corrected or a handful of expansions should look at the Language & Text panel.

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