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In Pages, you can change the default language to British English in the Inspector --> Text --> "More" tab --> Language: British English.

However, this reverts somehow in every launch of Pages. How do I set British English as the default language so that vocabulary checks are done according to British English?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

To follow up Martin's answer, for British English you will need to edit the list and check the "British English" tick box. I spent while looking for "English (British)", but it's the former format that appears.

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Oh yeah, I didn’t mention that because turns out that my list is heavily customized (as you can see) I removed all the things I can understand, but on a default installation, the list will be much larger. ;) – Martín Marconcini Oct 14 '10 at 12:14

You have to change the settings in the "International" panel in System Preferences.

  • Go to System Preferences.
  • Go to the Language & Text (In 10.6) panel (the language tab appears first by default).
  • Put your preferred language at the top of the list (you might have to edit the list).

Relaunch your iWork application (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) and your preferred language will be used as default language.

Language & Text

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I believe the only way to do this is to change the spelling language in a blank document and save it as a template.

Under General Preferences, you can select "Use Template:" and choose that template you saved.

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Incorrect there are many other ways to do this. – user588 Oct 11 '10 at 20:00

I suggest that you try Language Switcher.
It’s a freeware software, that launches single applications with a different language.

I tested it with many software but I don't know if it works for pages too, please try it and tell us if it works or not in the comments.

alt text

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If you don't mind changing the UI in addition to the spell checker, the following commands:

cd ~/Library/Preferences/
defaults write AppleLanguages "(Dutch,English)"

Would make the Pages UI (menu items, spellcheck, etc.) use Dutch first, and then English anywhere where the Dutch translation or dictionary is not provided. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to find out if it is "British" or "British English" or "GB-EN" or etc. to set it to British English UI and spell checking. Please leave the answer as a reply / comment to this answer.

Some more details here and here.

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It’s British English (for the lazy) – Martín Marconcini Oct 14 '10 at 12:14
(or busy) [filler for character limit]. – user588 Oct 14 '10 at 18:05

If you go into the properties box of an existing document, you can change the language of that document to English (Australian) even after you have been working on it for a while. You can even change individual paragraphs or words to separate languages. This means you need to "select all" the text before changing the language. This was in iWork 09 Pages.

My Properties box

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