Activating Dictionaries and Configuring Spellcheck in NeoOffice 2.x

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N.B. This article covers the steps required to activate writing tools in NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha through NeoOffice 2.2.5; for the steps to use in other versions, see Using Spellcheck in NeoOffice and related articles instead.

NeoOffice will correctly configure your preferences to use the language tools (spell check, thesaurus, etc.) for the language that is set as the default in the System Preferences when you launch NeoOffice, provided you have the appropriate writing tools installed.

Note that all the writing tools (dictionary, thesaurus, hyphenation) may not be available for all languages; some languages may have only one (usually the dictionary), and some may not have any tools at all.

If you want the NeoOffice user interface (and in some cases the Help) to be in your native language, you must install the appropriate language pack separately; see Changing the Language of the User Interface for more information.


Activating the Writing Tools for Your Preferred Language

NeoOffice 2.2.2 will automatically use the native Mac OS X spelling dictionaries if they match the language of the text to be checked. See Issues with Locale Variants of Languages below for more details.

Languages without a Mac OS X dictionary

If Mac OS X does not have a spelling dictionary for your language, NeoOffice will use an dictionary, if installed.

For NeoOffice 2.x: To download spelling dictionaries and other writing tools, choose Install new dictionaries… from the Wizards submenu of the File menu, then follow the steps in the wizard.

Because the writing tools authors and their communities are always updating these tools, you should run the Dictionary Wizard each time you upgrade to a new version of NeoOffice.

Installing Third-Party Dictionaries for

Due to licensing problems and other issues, there may be dictionaries for some languages that are not available via the dictionary wizard. If you find a dictionary for your language in either Hunspell (preferred) or MySpell format, it is possible to use this dictionary with NeoOffice.

For NeoOffice 2.x: To install the downloaded dictionary (in .zip format),

  • Go to the File menu, click on Wizards and choose Install New Dictionaries...
  • Choose an interface language (e.g. English)
  • Click on Start DicOOo
  • Check the Off-line language pack installation box
  • Click on the Browse... button to select the downloaded zip file for the desired dictionary
  • Click on Open then on Next>>
  • Select the chosen language, and click on Next>>
    • You will have to repeat this last step in each of the next two panes to install a thesaurus and hyphenation dictionary.
  • If you do not want to replace the exisiting dictionaries, check the Do not extract dictionary archives that are already installed.
  • Click on Next>>
  • When the installation is finished, click on Finish
  • If you are done installing dictionaries, close the DicOOo file.

Known Sources of Third-Party Dictionaries

  • Foolab: Arabic (عربي) [early version, only 71,000 words]
  • Ivrix Project: Arabic (عربي) [very large list, based on Buckwalter but converted by a non-Arabic speaker; reported to be slow and consume 200 MB of RAM]
  • Hunspell SourceForge Project: Amharic (አማርኛ), Azerbaijani (AzÉ™rbaycanca), Bengali (বাংলা), Kashubian (Kaszëbsczi), Persian (فارسی), Hindi (हिंदी), Mongolian (Монгол), Marathi (मराठी), Oriya (ଓଡ଼ିଆ), Punjabi (ਪੰਜਾਬੀ), Tamil (தமிழ்), Uzbek (Ўзбекча), Vietnamese (Việt ngữ). Note that only the downloads labeled "pack" appear to work with the steps listed above.
  • OOoWiki: Assorted (many of the tools listed there are already available using the Dictionary wizard, but if your language is not in the Dictionary wizard, check the OOoWiki.)
  • Linguistico: Italian (better quality than those available from the Dictionary Wizard)
  • Antidote Very complete French set of writings tools. Antidote installs easily in NeoOffice 2 (Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw). Antidote is shareware (about $69).

Enabling Writing Tools for Additional Languages

To install and activate writing tools for additional languages in NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha, simply repeat the steps in the previous section for any additional languages you wish to use.

Disabling Writing Aids for Languages that aren't Needed

  1. Under the NeoOffice menu choose Preferences.
  2. In the dialog that appears, doulbe click on Language Settings
  3. Cllick on Writing Aids
  4. In the panel that appears, highlight (but don't uncheck) NeoOffice Mac OS X Spellcheck with Hunspell and click the Edit button to the right of the this item.
  5. In the dialog that appears, select a language from the drop down list and uncheck NeoOffice Mac OS X Spellcheck with Hunspell.
  6. Repeat this step for all languages that you want to disable and click Close when you are finished.
  7. To save your changes, click OK and the dialog will close.


See the Troubleshooting Spellcheck article for details about common problems related to spell-checking.

Issues with Locale Variants of Languages

NeoOffice looks for an available dictionary for the fictitious language "ab_CD" in the following places (and in that order):

  1. Is "ab_CD" available with the OS X spellchecking services?
  2. Is "ab_CD" provided as a OpenOffice Hunspell dictionary?
  3. Is "ab" available with the OS X spellchecking services?

Because of a bug in the way Mac OS X 10.3 assigns language codes to dictionaries, on Mac OS X 10.3.9 NeoOffice will always use the spellchecking for a language, if present.

When NeoOffice is not using the Mac OS X spellchecking services for language "ab" (because an "ab_CD" dictionary is part of the default install of NeoOffice or you are using Mac OS X 10.3.9), and the preferred behavior is to use the Mac OS X dictionary, a workaround is available by removing or commenting out the "ab_CD" line from the file.

See this thread in trinity for more details about this issue and for potential interaction with CocoASpell.

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