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Dictionary seems to be several versions ahead of the Apple documentation (2007). I found a good blog post about it, but everything seems different now. I installed Xcode (including the command line tools) but nothing is where it's supposed to be (e.g. /Developer does not get created and there is no Dictionary\ Development\ Kit). I would like to make a pretty complicated dictionary, so I'd like to make this work instead of convert file types several times.

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Xcode no longer comes with Dictionary Development Kit, but you don't even need Xcode to use it.

  • Register a free developer account and download the auxiliary tools package from
  • Move the Dictionary Development Kit folder to /Applications/Utilities/DictionaryDevelopmentKit/ (without the spaces), and copy the project_templates folder to ~/Desktop/
  • Open ~/Desktop/project_templates/Makefile and change DICT_BUILD_TOOL_DIR from /DevTools/Utilities/Dictionary Development Kit to /Applications/Utilities/DictionaryDevelopmentKit
  • cd ~/Desktop/project_templates/; make && make install

The dictionary should show up in after you quit and reopen it. After that, try editing MyDictionary.xml or MyDictionary.css. The dictionary name is the same as CFBundleName in the Info.plist, and the bundle name is DICT_NAME in the Makefile.

If the lookup popovers show results from an older version of the dictionary, try logging out and back in. Terminating or removing ~/Library/Caches/* didn't seem to work.

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Someone has uploaded the Dictionary Development Kit to Github, if you want to avoid registering for a developer account. – daviewales Apr 29 '15 at 6:37

Everything that used to be in /Developer is now in with Xcode normally in /Applications, but you could put it anywhere in reality.

Other than that, you should be able to pop the dictionary file of your choosing either in the System Dictionary like the blog article you linked or only within Xcode for use to expand its dictionary.

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I'm trying to create a dictionary, not use other people's. I looked at every single folder under /Applications/ and there is no Dictionary\ Developer\ Kit. I know I need a . – Robert Marshall Murphy Jan 27 '13 at 1:28
Oops - we are a site for users of programs and not so much for developers. Are you familiar with Be sure you read about how to do research and show code level problems as they tend to rapidly close overly vague "teach me how to X" questions. Let me know if you want this migrated there after reading up on things. – bmike Jan 27 '13 at 1:36
My apologies I've never used this before. Please close this off! I'll repost it once I read up more! Sorry. – Robert Marshall Murphy Jan 27 '13 at 1:48
No apologies needed at all. We're here to help - please do come back with more questions that fit our small slice of the stack exchange network. We love answers too if you want to help that way. If you can't self-delete it, just flag that you need help from a moderator (or you can edit it and flag it for migration to Stack Overflow and we can handle it) - if it sits here closed for a while, it hurts nothing. – bmike Jan 27 '13 at 1:53
@RobertMarshallMurphy We're going to keep this - I think one of our users will have a good answer as well as has clarified that this is more of a "what format does Apple use" than a "programming" question. – bmike Jan 27 '13 at 4:37

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