Installing and Removing dictionaries

By default the cocoAspell package comes only with the English dictionary that contains American, British, and Canadian variations. To spell check a document in another language you may have to download, compile, and install the corresponding spelling dictionary.

This page describes how to install and remove dictionaries for cocoAspell version 2.0 and higher. If you are using an older version, please see the old dictionary instructions page.

Installing additional dictionaries

The Aspell Dictionaries FTP site contains dictionaries for 74 languages (on April 29th, 2005). I'm looking into making a dictionary installer application that should simplify the installation process. Meanwhile, you have install the dictionary by hand. If you click on the ftp site link, the Finder will mount the drive.

The mounted drive contains folders for individual languages and identified by the two-letter language codes. Each folder contains a file with a name that looks like this (this is the German dictionary)


Download the file, uncompress it (e.g., you may use StuffIt Expander to do that), and place the resulting folder into /Library/Application Support/cocoAspell/. Alternatively, you may install the dictionary into your own Library folder: ~/Library/Application Support/cocoAspell/. Here "~" stands for your home folder.

In our example, the installed dictionary will be:

/Library/Application Support/cocoAspell/aspell-de-0.50-2

Some of the languages have multiple dictionaries (i.e., multiple files on the ftp site), any of them should work with this version of cocoAspell. For example, suppose the German dictionary folder has three versions

aspell-de-0.50-2.tar.bz2 aspell5-de-20030222-1.tar.bz2 aspell6-de-alt-2.1-1.tar.bz2

I would suggest you choose the dictionary using the following rule: prefer files that start with "aspell6" over files that start with "aspell5" over files that start with simply "aspell", i.e., you should probably install aspell6-de-alt-2.1-1.tar.bz2. If you are interested in more details about the differences, see the README file at the ftp site.

Unfortunately, I do not have any information about the quality of individual dictionaries. If you have any questions, please contact the author of the particular dictionary. Generally, you may find the contact information in the ReadMe file in the dictionary folder.

Removing a dictionary

Before removing a dictionary from your system make sure it is disabled by checking off the Enable button in the Spelling preference pane.

Alternatively, you may trash the cocoAspell.service file from you Services folder. You will have to re-enable the rest of the dictionaries in the Spelling preference pane.

To remove the dictionary, simply remove the dictionary folder from the /Library/Application Support/cocoAspell/ folder.