I am Norwegian, but I set up my new iMac with English as the primary language.

My question is this:

Can I configure Mac OS X (possibly through a 3rd party application, free or not) to pick the right spell checker language depending on which application I'm typing in?

I went and downloaded a Norwegian spell checker file, and for some reason, when I opened up Trillian (IM/chat) directly afterwords, and started typing, it gave me Norwegian spell checking hints. ie. Any Norwegian word I mistyped, and right-clicked on, it showed up a list of other, correct and similar, Norwegian words.

After a few reboots and whatnot, Trillian is apparently back to English and will only list English words when I misspell them.

Now, after this I've discovered how to pick which language to use the spell checker against, it's under Language & Text in System Preferences, Text tab, Spelling setting.

However, when I'm in Chrome, as I am right now while typing this question, I rarely type in Norwegian, and when I'm in Trillian, I rarely type in English. Most of the time when I'm typing in Chrome, it's for emails or Stack Exchange-related posts, all in English, and only 1-2 of all my IM-friends are English so I only ever type in Norwegian there.

Thus, my question; can I configure Mac OS X to automatically use the right spell checker when I'm typing in a particular program, so that when I'm typing text in Chrome, it uses the English spell checker, and when I'm typing in Trillian, it uses the Norwegian one, and so on and so forth?

1 Answer 1


You can't set it per application, but you can set it to support multiple languages and detect them automatically.

To do so (in Lion - although I've been using this at least since Leopard), open System Preferences, go to Language & Text, select the Text tab, set Spelling to Automatic by Language, then open the Spelling dropdown again, select Setup... at the bottom and check the languages you want to enable.

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