Stop Spellcheck from Annoying you with Custom Dictionaries

How annoying is it when you type up a document and the spellcheck flags almost every other word because it thinks that a brand name, person’s name, medical, technical or slang term is misspelled? At least all of the spellcheck programs allow you to add words to their dictionaries, but only one word at a time. Its not easy when you have a few hundred medical or technical terms to enter in. Fortunately, you can add many words into the custom spellcheck dictionaries of all the major word processors at once.

Microsoft Word:

You’d think it would be difficult to add words to Microsoft Word’s dictionary but it’s actually pretty simple. Now, load up Microsoft Word and let’s get started.

- Click “Word” from the Menu Bar and choose “Preferences”.

- Click on “Spelling and Grammar”.

- Click on “Dictionaries” and a list will open up.

- The list may already have a Custom Dictionary inside.

- If it does, click “Edit”. If it doesn’t, click “New”.

Note: Word will flash a warning – It turns off spellcheck when you edit the dictionary. You must manually turn it back on.

- A new document titled “Custom Dictionary” will open up.

- Type in all your frequently flagged words that are spelled properly.

- Save the Custom Dictionary document.

- Close the Custom Dictionary document.

- Go back to Word’s preferences.

- Choose “Spelling and Grammar” again.

- Check the “Check spelling as you type” checkbox.

OS X’s TextEdit and iWork’s Pages:

Both TextEdit and Pages, share the same custom dictionary. Adding a bunch of words into OS X’s custom dictionary at once is a bit tricky. As you’ll see, the file separates words by a separator known as a zero bit. If you open this dictionary in TextEdit, the words looks like they aren’t separated at all. It doesn’t show the zero bit separating them. If you just enter words in here, without the separator, OS X will ignore these words and it’s pretty frustrating. Here’s what you need to do to add words into OS X’s custom spellcheck dictionary en masse:

- Download TextWrangler, an incredible and free Text Editor.

- Find your custom dictionary. It’s located in your User Folder / Library / Spelling / folder.

Note: It will be titled “en” if your computer is set for english (us). If the dictionary is set for any other languages, it will be the two letter shortcut for that language. (de for German, ru for Russian, es for Spanish, fr for French, etc)

- Open the file in TextWrangler.

Note: If TextEdit is still running, quit the application or the dictionary won’t load.

- Once opened, just like TextEdit, there will be a bunch of words with no spaces.

- Click “View” from the MenuBar, choose “Text Display” and then “Show Invisibles”.

Custom Spellcheck in OS X

- You will now see an upside-down question mark between the words.

- Copy the upside-down question mark.

- Enter in all the words you’d like to add.

- Paste the upside-down question mark between the words.

Note: Be sure to delete the line break (return/enter) so that the words become one giant line of text separated by the upside-down question mark.

- Save the file.

- Log out and log back into OS X and your dictionary will be active.

Note: If your custom dictionary doesn’t exist, create one by misspelling a word, running the spellcheck and choosing “Learn” from the menu.

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