Mac OS X interface for Aspell


November 8, 2016. Updating cocoAspell to make it compatible with the latest macOS versions. cocoAspel 2.5 requires macOS 10.11 or higher.

cocoAspell 2.5

November 8, 2016. cocoAspell is now open sourced.

January 12, 2009. If you are upgrading from cocoAspell 2.0.4 to cocoAspell 2.1 you may occasionally observe that some correctly spelled words are marked as misspelled. This is caused by a minor incompatibility between dictionaries compiled with aspell 0.60.5 and 0.60.4. I'd suggest you reinstall the dictionary directory in /Library/Application Support/cocoAspell. For the English dictionary that comes with cocoAspell, you should remove aspell6-en-6.0-0 folder and run the cocoAspell installer again.

December 24, 2009. Updated for Snow Leopard (10.6). There is a single distribution that includes both 64- and 32-bit binaries. This release updates Aspell engine to version 0.60.5.

  • cocoAspell 2.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or higher. cocoAspell 2.0 supports Mac OS X 10.3.9 and higher. Both PowerPC and Intel architectures are supported. The dictionaries can be downloaded from I believe there are dictionaries for more than 90 languages.

  • Known problem: I have reports of problems with right-to-left scripted languages. Specifically, there are mistakes in spell checking of Persian texts. I am looking into that. Is anybody out there using the Hebrew dictionary? What's your experience?

  • Some users reported that they are unable to configure or install the dictionaries. Generally, these problems can be traced to some modifications to the command line environment. For example, one user had his default shell set to csh and had some extra commands in .cshrc that were confusing the dictionary installation script. I am looking to make the dictionary installation process more robust.


cocoAspell is Mac OS X interface to Aspell – A more intelligent Ispell – that is being developed by Kevin Atkinson. Here is a brief snippet of how Kevin describes Aspell on his web site:

Aspell is an Open Source spell checker designed to eventually replace Ispell. Its main feature is that it does a much better job of coming up with possible suggestions than Ispell does. In fact recent tests shows that it even does better than Microsoft Word 97's spell checker or just about any other spell checker I have seen. It also has support for checking (La)TeX and HTML files, and run time support for other non English languages.

I have compiled Kevin's code for the Mac OS X platform. There are two major improvements over the original UNIX project:

  1. cocoAspell is created as a service provider for the system-wide spelling services on Mac OS X. It means that any Mac OS X application that uses system's spell checking APIs can take advantage of Aspell's features. For example, Mail, OmniWeb, Project Builder, and TextEdit can use Aspell's ability to check spelling in different languages.

  2. A preference panel named Spelling is provided with cocoAspell as an interface for dictionary selection and setup. Multiple Aspell options are available through this panel and allow the user to tune up the dictionary properties to his or her needs.


This software is supplied free of charge and AS-IS. Under no circumstances whatsoever will I be held responsible for anything that is the result of using this software.