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I write my emails in two languages. So system-wide spelling language setting is not very useful for me, since in span of working day I usually write half of my emails in one language and half in another. Now the current spelling language switching mechanism is not very good. First of all I need to invoke spelling window with CMD + : then change the language, then close the window, refocus my mail window and then continue writing. Also the spelling with the new language is applied only to the text I am entering after changing the language. Previous text is not spelled, unless I click each word individually.

So I have the following questions:

  1. Does there exist a quick method to change the language? Keyboard shortcut? List of the languages appearing after right click the way it is organised in Google Chrome? Maybe there is a possibility to associate spelling language to keyboard layout? I use different layout for different languages, so this would be very natural.

  2. How to automatically apply spelling to the text which was entered before the change of the language?

I use Mac OS X 10.6.6.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

On Mac OS X Snow Leopard (and maybe Leopard), the spell checker is smart enough to detect which language you're using.

Well, YMMV, personally I'm mostly writing in French and English, and I just have to type the 4 ou 5 first word, and Mac OS X automatically detect which language I'm using.

It seems to detect at least by paragraph, but it could also be by sentence, I haven't fully tested.

So try to set your spell checker language to "Detect automatically" and see if it's smart enough for your use.

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+1, great tip, but it is not working for my language, which is Lithuanian. On the other hand it is not supported by Apple, I had to manually copy appropriate files to get the spelling. But switching from English to French works, pity I write very few French emails. If no other answers appear, I will accept yours, although it solves my problem only partially, which is not your fault :) –  mpiktas Mar 18 '11 at 10:36
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I have just spent some time with Mountain Lion after I added a custom dictionary (Afrikaans) to the ~/Library/Spelling folder (.dic and .aff).

Findings: - If I set the "Spelling" in "System Preferences -> Language and text -> Text" to Afrikaans, the Afrikaans spell check works great. - If I set the "Spelling" to "Automatic by language" detection between English and Afrikaans it does not work correctly. It never recognises Afrikaans, checks everything as English.

So in mail.app the only workable option seems to be to set it up to check email upon sending, and to select the language at the bottom of the pop-up box.

Alternatively buy Postbox, where you can install a Thunderbird dictionary and select the language manually. But Postbox is not doing retina displays (yet) - it looks awful at the moment on retina.

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I have disabled the as-you-type spell checker, and set the Mail.app setting to check spelling first when I press 'Send'. The pop-up spell checker window enables me to select language. This way changing the spell checking language applies to the whole email. I suppose any way to check you spelling apart from the as-you-type spell checker gives you full control over the language.

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