Frequently Asked Questions

I started this project because I needed a Russian spellchecker and Apple had no support for the language. So I took the Aspell spellchecker and built Mac OS X system services interface for it. Thus cocoAspell was born. I have created it primarily for my own use and later decided to release it so others would take advantage of the program. I discovered that sometime answering questions, supporting and maintaining the application may require more time than it takes to write the initial code. And it is noticeably less fun.

I do not want to discontinue all support of cocoAspell completely, but I cannot justify continue doing it for free. One of the cocoAspell users offered a donation to the project. And I decided to try an experiment: lets see how much do you think this program worth to you. Is it the price of a hard cover dictionary? The cost of a DVD? The train fare from Heathrow to downtown London?

Download it and try it. If it works for you and you like it, come back to this page and vote. ;-)

Question: How to uninstall/disable cocoAspell?
Answer: You can quickly disable cocoAspell following these steps: 1. open Spelling Preference Pane and disable all dictionaries. 2. Remove /Library/PreferencePanes/Spelling.prefPane and ~/Library/Services/cocoAspell.service. I will put together a script that removes all traces of cocoAspell for the next update.
Question: I have installed cocoAspell service but there is no cocoAspell spelling service in the Service menu. Can you assist?
Answer: A spelling service does not show up in the Service menu. You can find them listed in the pop up menu in the Spelling window. For example, open up and go to the "Edit" menu, select "Spelling..." under the "Spelling" submenu. The Spelling window shows up.
Question: Is it possible to combine different spelling books, so all the English computer lingo does not show up as misspelled words? Now I have to choose between English or <insert your language here> checks.
Answer: Aspell does not allow that. I can probably implement something like meta-dictionary that allows several dictionaries to be active at the same time so if a word is not found in one dictionary, another will be consulted. That will increase lookup times and may lead to situations when the client application timeouts on the spelling server resulting in an ugly error alert.

Such an approach has another potential problem: if you teach the system a word and a meta dictionary is active, what is the language of this word? Where should I place such a word? How do I choose the appropriate learned words list (LWL)? If there is a separate LWL for the meta-dictionary, then the word will not appear in the suggestions list when only one of the sub-dictionaries is active.
Question: where will the 'learned' words end up? (I noticed in the ~/Library/Spelling folder are two items <insert your language here>, one in the subfolder Aspell, the other on the ~/Library/Spelling level, I wondered which is what).
Answer: The learned words end up in both places. The latter location is where Apple's Spelling services store learned words. These words are stored as soon as you press the "Learn" button. Note that English file there contains words learned for both Aspell English and Apple English dictionaries. The former location is where the Aspell stores its LWLs. Later it may use these words to adjust the suggested word list in the Spelling window. The formats of these files are different. Aspell cannot use Apple's word dictionaries. I cannot prevent Spelling Service from writing their own dictionaries. Hence the redundancy.
Question: Is there a way to make a central directory with learned words? (for organizational Lingo etc)
Answer: I will forward this question to Kevin Atkinson, the author of Aspell. My guess is that you cannot do that, because Aspell stores the language information inside the LWL file. Attempting to open such a file while another language is active will result in error.
Question: Stefan Kreutter, the maker of ObjectFarm spell service (the Mac OS X port of ispell) has also made (but not released) an input manager that I find most useful: what it does: it adds a "Language" sub menu to the "spelling" menu and contextual menu. This is useful to quickly change languages. Can you implement something like this?
Answer: This type of service (pun intended) can be only provided by the application. cocoAspell has no control of the application's menus.
Question: Can you implement spelling preferences per application? For example, I want the TeX filter to be on only in my Latex editor.
Answer: No. Spelling Services APIs do not provide application information to the spell checking server. cocoAspell cannot possibly know what application is requesting the spell check.
Question: I would like each application to remember which dictionary I used last in this application. This is useful for people that work in more than one language.
Answer: No. I cannot do that. See the previous answer.