Troubleshooting Spellcheck

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Sometimes this process gets convoluted; there is a trinity thread that attempts to walk through troubleshooting why language (and thus dictionary) settings "don't stick" sometimes.

No errors are found or the wrong words are marked incorrect

Selecting the Dictionary to be Used in a Document or Section

Auto Spellcheck doesn't work in .doc Files

.doc files (from MS Word) often don't include a setting for the language of the document. If autospell check is not working in a .doc file, there are two options:

  • Select the entire text of the document;
  • Cntrl or Right Click in the selection and choose Character from the contextual menu.
  • Click on the Font tab and set the language drop-down to the correct language.


  • Go to the NeoOffice menu and choose Preferences
  • Click on Language Settings and then Languages
  • Set the Default Language for document to the correct language
  • If necessary, check For the current document only

If Autocorrect and Replacement Settings Don't Work

is this relevant/the same for 3.x? if not, move to the 2.x page

In this thread at trinity, Bill offers the following experience:

I installed Canadian English in my copy of NeoOffice 2.0 (patch 15) so that spell checking would happen that way, and the autocorrect replace list and exceptions list stopped working.

There seemed to be no easy way to replicate the USA English versions of these lists, and typing them all in again (after selecting "English (Canada)" at the top of the autocorrect dialog) was way too tedious.

But I managed to populate these lists using this method.

Right-click on the NeoOffice application and choose "Show Package Contents". Navigate to "Contents/share/autocorr/". Find the "acor_en-US.dat" file - this apparently contatins the replace and exceptions lists.

In a new Finder window (just to make copying easier), navigate to "~/Library/Preferences/NeoOffice-2.x/user/autocorr/". If "acor_en-US.dat" exists in this folder, temporarily rename it. The "acor ..." files in this folder seem to contain additions you've made to the replace and exceptions lists.

Copy the "acor_en-US.dat" file from autocorr folder deep in the NeoOffice application to the autocorr folder deep in the Preferences folder. In the Preferences folder rename the copied file to "autocorr_en-CA.dat". If necessary, reset the name of the "autocorr_en-US.dat" file.

Launch NeoOffice, go to the AutoCorrection dialog, choose "English (Canada)" from the pop-up, and the lists will be there.

Choose a different file name if you're using an English variant other than Canadian, UK, or USA, and (I assume) you have installed that language in NeoOffice.

"Could Not Contact Spell Checker" Error Message

If you see this error while you are checking spelling (or while auto-spell checking is on), you may have encountered a conflict caused by third-party spelling services (either cocoAspell or Spell Catcher have been reported to cause this problem).

Some users have experienced success by upgrading their cocoAspell or Spell Catcher installations, or by removing the cocoAspell.service or Spell Catcher Services.service items from ~/Library/Services or /Library/Services. A reboot will be required after upgrading or upgrading the files.

Note: Be sure to only move the .service file, not delete it, in case the approach does not work for you.

If you still get the same error after doing the above steps, try doing the following steps:

  1. Move any /Library/Caches/*.csstore files to the Trash but do not empty the Trash
  2. Reboot your machine
  3. Immediately empty the Trash

For more information, see this thread at trinity, this thread at trinity, or these three threads at Apple Discussions.

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

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), 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.

FIXME - how do we achieve this in 3.x

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

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