Checking your spelling

One of the really nice features of Mac OS X is the system-wide dictionary that is available in all applications that are written in Cocoa, Apple Inc.'s programming environment for programming.

For you, the end user it means that when you make a spelling error, the same database is used to check the spelling of a word. This means when you add a word to your user dictionary in an application such as Mail, that same user dictionary is used to check the spelling of the same word in TextEdit, Pages, Keynote and a wide variety of third party applications.

For example, each time I type my last name, Fauquet, it is underlined with red dots as shown in the illustration below.
One of the really nice features of Mac OS X is the system-wide dictionary that is available in all applications that are written in Cocoa, Apple Inc.'s programming environment for programming.

For you, the end user it means that when you make a spelling error, the same database is used to check the spelling of a word. This means when you add a word to your user dictionary in an application such as Mail, that same user dictionary is used to check the spelling of the same word in TextEdit, Pages, Keynote and a wide variety of third party applications.

For example, each time I type my last name, Fauquet, it is underlined with red dots as shown in the illustration below.



There are several ways to fix such errors. The most frequent method seems to be moving the cursor to the end of the word, then clicking the delete key until the incorrect letter is deleted, then re-typing the word. This method is the least efficient. Let's explore other, more efficient ways to fix the error.

One way would be to move the mouse to the word and then double click on it. That will cause the whole word to be selected. Then you can simply re-type the word. Remember that you do not have to press the delete key. Just begin typing and the entire word will disappear.



A better way to fix the error is to move your cursor over the misspelled word, then press and hold the Control key. It is located to the left of the spacebar on your keyboard. A pop-up contextual menu will appear. This action is called Control - Click.



As you can see, my computer suggested the word "Faucet." That is certainly not the word I wanted. This is because most proper names are not included in the dictionary. Since Fauquet is spelled correctly, I would scroll down to "Learn Spelling" and in the future my last name would not be underlined in red as a misspelled word. The other choice would be to choose "Ignore Spelling." For the rest of the document that you are working on, the word will be ignored. However, it will be reported as misspelled in future documents.

Let's try another word, mispelled. Control - clicking on the word while it is underlined in red will bring up the contextual menu, but this time there are two suggested spellings. Scroll down to select the word you meant.





Sometimes we misspell a word because we are unsure how to spell it. For example, transferor. Begin spelling the word, then highlight it (double click in it), then control - click on it.




Scroll down until "Look Up in Dictionary is selected, the release the mouse button. You will see a box similar to this one if you are using Mac OS X 10.5x, Leopard. If you are still using Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, the dictionary will appear slightly different.




Trans is not the word I want, so click the More. . . button. You will be presented with a long list of words that begin with trans.



Time out for a disclaimer. Sometimes you will get the long list of words, however at other times you might see the definition for the word:



If you get the definition instead of the list, go to the upper right corner search area and delete a letter or two. You will then be in the list mode.

Now try spelling the word, if you have spelled it incorrectly, all of the words in the list will disappear. Erase and add letters to find the correct spelling of the word you are looking for.

Notice that right above the definition, there is a line with the words All, Dictionary, Thesaurus, Apple and Wikipedia. You can check your word in all of those sources, or narrow the search down to one tool.

It is often interesting to check out entries in Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia that has been written and refined by Internet users. While the information it contains is often excellent and very deep, pranksters sometimes add or change entries so that Wikipedia is incorrect.

It is also possible to add an incorrectly spelled word to the dictionary. Or you may have added a word, but now you do not want it to be a part of the dictionary. To change an entry, type the word in, select it, then control-click on it. If it was originally a part of the computer's dictionary, there will not be a way to unlearn the word. However, if it was added by a user, you will be able to "unlearn" the word.



There certainly are a lot of things to learn about your Macintosh. Check MacMousecalls frequently for new articles. If you need a bit more help, remember that we can provide tutoring through Bob LeVitus Consulting. Sessions are $60 per hour and they make a great holiday gift for the Mac user in your life!

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