The spell checker interface

Starting with release 0.92.1, epcEdit comes with an extension script for interfacing with the ispell or aspell programs. Ispell is the standard spell checker program on Unix platforms and is likely to be already installed on most systems. Aspell is another spell checker program that offers enhanced functionality while retaining backward compatibility with ispell.

The "Check Spelling" script works with ispell and aspell. It starts a new spell checker process and sends the content of a document to this process. If ispell complains about a word in the document, the misspelled word is displayed in a dialog together with any replacements suggested by the spell checker.

The spell checker interface requires an installed ispell or aspell program to work. Please refer to section Resources of this document for information on how to obtain and install the ispell or aspell programs and dictionaries.

The spell checker dialog

A screenshot of the spell checker dialog is shown below. This dialog appears when a word in the current document is not recognized by the spell checker program. If your document contains no misspelled words, only an information message is shown that tells you that no spelling errors were detected in your document.

The misspelled is shown in the Word field and highlighted in the document window.The Replace by field contains the replacement for the word. Pressing the Replace button will replace the selected word with the contents of this field. The Suggestions list contains alternative replacements that have been suggested by the spell checker. Selecting an entry in this list will copy the selected entry into the Replace field.

The Language combo box contains the list of all available languages on the system. This list is constructed from the names of the files in the dictionary directory and depends on the installed dictionaries.

Apart from replacing a misspelled word, the word can be ignored just once by pressing the Ignore button. Pressing the Always ignore button will tell the spell checker to ignore all occurrences of the misspelled word in the current document.

Correctly spelled words that were not recognized by the spell checker can be entered into a personal dictionary by pressing the Add to dictionary button.

Pressing the Done button will terminate the spell checker. If the personal dictionary has been modified, a dialog will be displayed that asks whether the modified dictionary should be saved or not.

Invoking the spell checker

The "Check Spelling" script is invoked by selecting Extra > Run Script from the menu. If the script encounters an configuration error (e.g. if it can not find the ispell program or the dictionary for the default language), a configuration dialog is displayed for entering the correct values.

Configuring the spell checker

The configuration dialog can be opened by pressing the "Configure..." button in the spell checker dialog. The "Check Spelling" script automatically opens the configuration dialog if it detects invalid configuration settings.

The configuration dialog (as shown below) contains four entry fields for the name of the ispell program, the location of the ispell (or aspell) dictionaries, the default language, and for the dictionary encoding.

The spell program field contains the name of the executable program that is invoked by the script. On Unix, this is normally /usr/bin/ispell; on Windows systems, the default is c:\aspell\aspell.exe.

The Dictionary Directory is the location where the dictionaries for the spell checker program are stored. On Unix systems, the default is /usr/lib/ispell, on Windows, the dictionaries are normally stored in the c:\aspell\dict directory.

The Default Language field contains the name of default dictionary that is used by the spell checker.

The Dictionary Encoding contains the name of the encoding used for the spell checker dictionaries. The script will convert any data into this encoding before sending it to the spell checker program. The default setting of ISO-8859-1 should work for most environments.

When the OK button is pressed, the script will check the configuration parameters and display an appropriate information message if configuration errors are encountered.


For the spell checker interface to work, a spell checking program must be installed on your system. The "check Spelling" script expects to find the ispell program (on Unix systems) or the aspell program under Windows.

If you do not have ispell or aspell installed, you can download the programs from he following locations:

AspellFrom the aspell web page at
From the epcEdit web site at

By default, these programs come with english dictionaries only. Dictionaries for other languages (or links to them) can be found at the locations listed above.

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Last change: 20010128 (RH)