Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Firefox 2 Spelling Dictionary Hacks; Make Firefox Inline Spell Checker More Useful

One of the most useful additions to Firefox 2 is the inline spell check feature that hints you of possible spelling mistakes as you type inside web forms.

While spell checking is a killer feature, Firefox 2 dictionary is incomplete and misses a lot of commonly used web terms including Google. This becomes all the more evident if you are slightly tech-savvy and use terms like AVI, Youtube, Screenshots, MP3, Powerpoint, etc while composing emails or writing new blog entries inside the browser.

So here are five different hacks that help you make Firefox 2 dictionary all the more useful.

For each of the hacks you will have to modify the persdict.dat [a text file with dat extension] located in the profile folder of your Firefox installation.

C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Mozilla\Profiles\<profile name>

persdict.dat holds the personal dictionary entries used by the spellchecker added by you.

Shut down Firefox and open the persdict.dat file using Notepad or any text editor.

Add Multiple Words to Firefox Dictionary in One Step

With persdict.dat open inside Notepad, add any number of new words but each on a new separate line. If your friend has already done the hard work, you can copy his custom entries in our own persdict.dat file. Save and close the file.

Don't Duplicate Work ? Merge Microsoft Word Custom Dictionary With Firefox


If you are a Microsoft Office user, chances are that you already have a rich custom dictionary in place which you created while composing documents inside Microsoft Word. So let's save the duplicate effort and bring those Microsoft entries directly to Firefox.

Open the custom.dic file located in the Microsoft Office Proofing folder.

C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Microsoft\Proof

As in the previous step, copy the entries from this file into persdict.dat file and your Firefox 2.0 spell checker gets all the intelligence of Microsoft Word dictionary in one step.

Download Additional Dictionaries for Firefox 2

While there are dictionaries to download in text form, you can always download list of popular computer terms, medical terms or any other jargon for your Firefox spell checker.

Wikipedia has a list of company names and computer terms that you can easily integrate with Firefox dictionary by simple text manipulation [keep the hyperlinked words, remove everything after the hyphen, etc]

Remove Entries from Firefox 2 Dictionary Added by Mistake

When Firefox 2 detects an incorrect spelling, it highlights that word with a dotted red underline - if you think the spelling is correct, you just right click and choose "Add to Dictionary".

But if you make a mistake or accidentally add a wrong word to the dictionary, the only way to delete is by manually removing it from, you guessed it right, persdict.dat file.

Replace US English with British English as the default dictionary.

You can download Firefox Dictionaries in various languages here. Install the British English Dictionary extension and restart Firefox. Now right click inside a text field and choose English / British under the Language settings.

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