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Mac 101: Enabling Built-in Spell Check


Mac OS X offers a system-wide built-in spell checker. Many OS X applications including Mail, Pages, TextEdit, Safari and iChat AV (among others) allow you to take advantage of this feature to find and correct spelling mistakes. To enable spell checking in an application, control-click (or right-click on a two-button mouse) a text field or text entry area. Choose Spelling from the contextual pop-up menu and then make sure that Check Spelling as You Type is checked. If it is not checked, just select it to check it. Selecting it again disables the feature.

More after the jump...

When enabled, the spell checker marks words that it does not recognize with a dashed red underline. You may sometimes encounter a slight delay between typing words and seeing them get flagged. Make a habit of looking back at material you've already typed to see whether the underline appears.

To correct a flagged word that you recognize is wrong, control-click (right-click) the word. A list of possible corrections appears at the top of the contextual pop-up. To replace a word, just select it from the pop-up menu.

Here are a few spell checking tips:

  • You must enable spell check separately for each application. Enabling spell checking in TextEdit will not enable spell checking in Safari.
  • To open an interactive spell checking box, choose Spelling -> Spelling... from the contextual pop-up menu. You can use this dialog whether or not you have enabled spell checking for your application.
  • To spell check in a different language, use the Spelling dialog's Dictionary pop-up.
  • You can teach the dictionary new words. Enter a word in the field to the left of Correct and click Learn.

Thanks, Callum.

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