spelr Logo

spelr Manual

Contributing

If you like spelr, please consider donating to support my work. Donations can be made using PayPal.

The development of spelr is driven largely by users like you, so if you discover a bug, have a feature request, or just want to share feedback, please contact me. You can also help by writing a review on the website from which you downloaded it and by telling your friends about spelr.

System requirements

spelr should run on any flavor of Windows NT (2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, etc., both 32 and 64 bit). There are no other special requirements.

Installation, updating and uninstalling

Installation

Simply double click the installer file (spelr_ins.exe) you downloaded to install the program. If you have a 64 bit OS, the 64 bit binaries will be installed, else the 32 bit binaries will be installed.

Updating

You can check the 12Bytes website for new versions of spelr, or simply use the built-in automatic or manual update check functions in the Configuration Interface which will retrieve the release notes and offer to download and install a new version when one is available.

When installing a new version, you can usually install over top of your existing installation, however you should always check the release notes for any special instructions.

Uninstalling

You can uninstall spelr either through the start menu shortcut or the Windows programs manager.

spelr creates the folder \spelr in your user application data directory where it stores your settings. You should delete this directory only if you do not intend on installing the program again. To locate this directory quickly, press the Windows key + R and enter: %APPDATA%\spelr.

Quick-start guide

When you start spelr, you will see its icon in the system tray next to your clock. Click the icon to reveal a context menu.

spelr assigns three hotkeys by default when it is started. With these hotkeys you can invoke the three methods of using the spell checker, which are spell checking the contents of the Windows clipboard, spell checking selected text, or spell checking an entire document. By default these hotkeys are Shift + F1, Shift + F2 and Shift + F3, respectively. These hotkeys are set globally, meaning that they will work regardless of which program you are working with. It is therefore important to set the spelr hotkeys so that they will not interfere with the hotkeys of your other programs.

To use spelr, just press the hotkey combination corresponding to the source of the text you want to spell check. If a spelling error is found, the Spell Checker Interface will be displayed from where you can select a word from the list to replace the misspelled word, or substitute your own word, as well as several other options. After the spell check is complete, spelr will present a message.

Limitations

spelr will always ignore URLs, numbers or words containing non-alpha characters except for a hyphen or apostrophe. spelr was lightly tested with, and should work with Unicode characters, including any dictionary that is available on the Mozilla Dictionaries & Language Packs website.

Configuration and usage

Left click the spelr icon in the system tray (next to your clock) to open the Configuration Interface.

Spell Check Options

Selected dictionary: Choose your language preference. If the selected language dictionary is not installed, you will be presented with an option to install it. The installation process is completely automated.

New: Request that a new dictionary be added to the next program update, or manually install one yourself. Also see the “Installing additional dictionaries” section below.

Spell-check clipboard hotkey: The hotkey used to spell check the contents of the clipboard. The corrected text will be placed back on the clipboard, ready to be pasted into your document. If the “Auto-Paste” option is enabled, the corrected text will be pasted back automatically.

Spell-check selection hotkey: Pressing this hotkey will copy text that has already been selected in your document. The corrected text will be placed back on the clipboard, ready to be pasted into your document. If the “Auto-Paste” option is enabled, the corrected text will be pasted back automatically.

Spell-check document hotkey: Pressing this hotkey will automatically select and copy all of the text in your document. The corrected text will be placed back on the clipboard, ready to be pasted into your document. If the “Auto-Paste” option is enabled, the corrected text will be pasted back automatically.

Auto-paste corrected text: Enabling this option will automatically paste back the spell-corrected text to the window from which the original text was copied from as long as it is the active window. When spell checking the clipboard, the corrected text will be pasted back to the currently active window, which may not be the window from which the original text was copied from.

Use Auto-Correct replacements without prompting: If enabled, and if an Auto-Correct word pair exists, the misspelled word will be replaced with the correct word without prompting the user. If you are a poor speller and wish to improve, you may not want to enable this option.

Automatically correct common typos: This option will automatically correct the following:

  • Add missing spaces after sentences ending with any of the following characters: . , ) ? ; : !
  • Remove extra horizontal whitespace, such as replacing two or more spaces or tab spaces with a single space or tab space
  • Capitalize the first letter of every sentence

Program Options

Show logo on start-up: Briefly display the spelr logo when starting the program.

Start when Windows starts: Whether to load spelr when you start you computer.

Auto-check for program updates: When enabled, spelr will automatically check for a newer version every time you exit the program. If an update is detected, you will be notified the next time you start it. You can also check for updates manually.

Use alternate copy/paste keys: By default spelr uses Ctrl/Shift + Ins to copy and paste. Enabling this option will cause it to use Ctrl + C/V instead.

Hide non-critical Massage Bar messages: spelr will display various messages at the top of your screen to let you know about its status, such as when a spell check is complete, etc.. Enable this option if you want to reduce the number of messages it displays.

Minimum Message Bar display time: The time the Message Bar is displayed is calculated according to how long the message string is, then a fixed time is added. This option allows you to adjust the fixed time in milliseconds. For reference, 500 ms = 1/2 of a second.

Base delay time: If you find that all of the text you selected for spell checking is not placed back on the clipboard or pasted back to your document, try increasing the base delay time in increments of about 50 until the spelr works as expected.

Installing additional dictionaries

spelr is compatible with the Mozilla dictionaries which are used in Firefox, Thunderbird and other Mozilla programs. By default, spelr comes packaged with only the U.S. English dictionary (en-US) and associated support files.

Installing a new supported dictionary

To install a new, supported dictionary, simply select the language code from the “Selected dictionary” combination control and you will be asked whether you want to install it if it is not already installed. The installation process is completely automated.

For dictionaries where there are multiple versions available on the Mozilla Dictionaries & Language Packs webpage, only a single version is available to be installed automatically. In such cases, it is the “new” or “modern” version of the language that is available. If you want to install a different version, you will need to follow the instructions in the “Installing a new unsupported dictionary” section below.

Installing a new unsupported dictionary

If the dictionary you want to use is not listed in the “Selected dictionary” combination control, you have two choices; 1), you can request that it be included in the next release of spelr, or 2), you can install it yourself. If you choose the latter option, here is what you need to do:

  1. Go to the Mozilla Dictionaries & Language Packs webpage and click on the “Install Dictionary” link (not the “Install Language Pack” link) for the dictionary you want to install. This will open the webpage for the dictionary add-on.
  2. On the dictionary add-on page, right click the green “Add to Firefox” button and click “Save link as…” to download the file (in some instances there may be a blue “Continue to Download” button you will have to click first).
  3. Locate the file you downloaded and extract the the *.aff and *.dic files to the \dictionary directory of your spelr installation which, by default, is “\%APPDATA%\spelr\dictionaries” (if you are running spelr in portable mode, extract the files to the “\dictionaries” folder in the spelr program folder). To quickly locate the default spelr dictionary directory, press the Windows key + R and enter: %APPDATA%\spelr\dictionaries. The .xpi file is just a zip archive, so if you have trouble extracting it, try changing the extension to .zip, or use a capable archive utility such as 7-Zip.
  4. Make sure that the names of the *.dic and *.aff files are the same and that the file name format is formatted exactly as “xx-XX” where the first two letters are lowercase English representing the language code, followed by a hyphen, then two uppercase English letters representing the country code. The file extensions must be lower case. So for the Nepali dictionary for example, the file names would be “ne-NP.dic” and “ne-NP.aff”. It does not matter what letters you use as long as they do not conflict with an existing dictionary, but if you want to be accurate and are unsure what the file names should be, you can refer to the Language Codes page on the Microsoft website.
  5. Restart spelr, or just close and reopen the Configuration Interface, then select your newly installed dictionary in the “Selected dictionary” combination control and it will be ready to use.
Optional: Creating an Auto-Correct dictionary file

The missing *-User.dic and *-Auto-Correct.dic files will be created automatically. Optionally, you can create a *-Auto-Correct.dic manually if you wish. This file contains word pairs that are used both to suggest a default replacement for a misspelled word and to automatically replace misspelled words without prompting when the “Auto-Correct” option is enabled. spelr includes only a en-US-Auto-Correct.dic file for the U.S. English language. To create this file for another language, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. You will have to find an auto-correct file somewhere. If you have LibreOffice, ApacheOfice or OpenOffice installed, you can find the file in your %APPDATA% directory. In my case it was located at %APPDATA%\LibreOffice\[version]\user\autocorr\acor_en-US.dat. If you do not have one of the open-source offices installed, you can download one if you wish. I would recommend LibreOffice.
  2. Extract the contents of the .dat file. This file is just a zip archive, so if you have trouble extracting it, try changing the extension to .zip, or use a capable archive utility such as 7-Zip.
  3. Find the auto-correct file. This will likely be the largest of the extracted files and in my case it was named DocumentList.xml.
  4. Open the .xml file in a proper code editor, such as Notepad++. Using the find and replace dialog, preforming the following:
    1. find all: " block-list:name="
      replace: |
    2. regex find all: "/><block-list:block block-list:abbreviated-name="
      replace: \n
      important: you want only LF vertical spaces, not the idiotic Windows default CRLF, thus the \n in the above replace expression and not \r\n.
    3. regex find all: <.+
      replace: [empty]
    4. regex find all: ".*
      replace: [empty]
    5. regex find all: ^[^[:alpha:]].+\v
      replace: [empty]
    6. regex find all: ^\v+
      replace: [empty]
  5. Check the result carefully to be sure it looks correct and is uniform in structure (see example below), then copy the content to the “Auto-Correct” tab of the spelr Configuration Interface, or save the file as “xx-XX-Auto-Correct.dic” in the spelr dictionaries directory (%APPDATA%\spelr\dictionaries).

The finished result should look like the following (en-US is used as the example) where each line contains a misspelled word, followed by a pipe character, then by the correct word:

abotu|about
abscence|absence
accesories|accessories
...

It is important that you do not edit any of the *.dic files with an inferior text editor such as Windows Notepad as this will break the formatting of the file. Except as outlined above, you should only edit these files from within the spelr Configuration Interface.

Spell checking

Once spelr is invoked with one of the three hotkeys, the text it receives is immediately processed. If no errors were found, only a Message Bar message is displayed. If errors are found, the Spell Checker Interface will be displayed which contains a list of suggested replacement words if any are available. Descriptions of the components of the Spell Checker Interface follow:

The misspelled word is red in color and is surrounded by other words to provide the context in which it is being used. If no replacements were found in the current dictionary, the misspelled word is prefixed with “Unknown word”.

Any word in the suggested replacement list can be clicked to set it as the replacement candidate, or double clicked to quickly replace the misspelled word. You can also provide your own word as the replacement.

Replace button: Replaces the misspelled word with the chosen replacement only once. You will be prompted for each additional instance of the word if there are any.

Replace All button: Replaces all instances of the misspelled word with the chosen replacement. You will not be prompted for additional instances of the word if there are any.

Ignore button: Ignores the misspelled word only once. You will be prompted for each additional instance of the word if there are any.

Ignore All button: Ignores all instances of the misspelled word. You will not be prompted for additional instances of the word if there are any.

Add to personal dictionary button: Adds the word to your personal dictionary which is used in conjunction with the main dictionary to decide if a word is misspelled. This dictionary can be edited from the Configuration Interface.

For more help with a word, click any of the links above the replace buttons to lookup the word using a 3rd party service.

Replacing words and Auto-Correct interaction

Each time you use the “Replace” or “Replace All” functions of the Spell Checker Interface, the misspelled word and its replacement are stored as an Auto-Correct word pair. These word pairs serve two purposes; 1) if the same misspelled word is encountered again, the 1st word in the suggested replacement list will be the word you last replaced it with and 2), if you enable the Auto-Correct option, the misspelled word will be replaced automatically without ever prompting you. The Auto-Correct word pairs can be edited from the Configuration Interface.

Support

To report a bug or send feedback, open the Configuration Interface and click the “Feedback” link near the bottom right. This will open the 12Bytes website where you can submit a support request.

If you are reporting a problem, please be as thorough as possible and include a detailed description of the exact steps necessary to reproduce the problem. Also attach any configuration files or screen captures if you suspect it may help troubleshoot the issue.

Licensing

spelr is is licensed as freeware. The license agreement is included in the package you downloaded. You can also view the licensing terms at the 12bytes.org website. Donations can be made using PayPal.