Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

10.5: Make spell check show only desired languages System 10.5
In apps like TextEdit, Mail, Safari, etc. (but mainly Mail), I like to use the Multilingual option in the spell check dialog (Edit » Spelling » Show Spelling & Grammar) because I regularly write in English, French and Spanish. However, I really have little everyday use for the other languages, and they pose the problem that a word that may be misspelled in English, French or Spanish may actually exist in another language that is covered by the Apple spell checker.

So I removed all those other languages from the spell checker, and it works exactly as I'd hoped (even for grammar). Read on to see what I did.

First I created a folder called AppleSpellTest inside my folder zzz_Disabled_Stuff that is in my home folder. Then I made a backup of the files I was going to modify by doing this:
sudo cp -R /System/Library/Services/AppleSpell.service /Users/*Your_User*/zzz_Disabled_Stuff/AppleSpellTest/
Replace *Your_User* with your user's short username.

Then, I only wanted French, English, Spanish, and Multilingual (don't forget this is an option when we edit the menu later), so I moved all the rest of the files like this:
$ sudo su
$ mv /System/Library/Services/AppleSpell.service/Contents/Resources/Danish.lproj /Users/*Your_Home*/zzz_Disabled_Stuff/AppleSpellTest/DisabledLanguages 
$ mv /System/Library/Services/AppleSpell.service/Contents/Resources/Dutch.lproj /Users/*Your_Home*/zzz_Disabled_Stuff/AppleSpellTest/DisabledLanguages 
$ mv /System/Library/Services/AppleSpell.service/Contents/Resources/en_AU.lproj /Users/*Your_Home*/zzz_Disabled_Stuff/AppleSpellTest/DisabledLanguages 
$ mv /System/Library/Services/AppleSpell.service/Contents/Resources/en_CA.lproj /Users/*Your_Home*/zzz_Disabled_Stuff/AppleSpellTest/DisabledLanguages 
$ mv /System/Library/Services/AppleSpell.service/Contents/Resources/en_GB.lproj /Users/*Your_Home*/zzz_Disabled_Stuff/AppleSpellTest/DisabledLanguages 
$ mv /System/Library/Services/AppleSpell.service/Contents/Resources/German.lproj /Users/*Your_Home*/zzz_Disabled_Stuff/AppleSpellTest/DisabledLanguages 
$ mv /System/Library/Services/AppleSpell.service/Contents/Resources/Italian.lproj /Users/*Your_Home*/zzz_Disabled_Stuff/AppleSpellTest/DisabledLanguages 
$ mv /System/Library/Services/AppleSpell.service/Contents/Resources/Portuguese.lproj /Users/*Your_Home*/zzz_Disabled_Stuff/AppleSpellTest/DisabledLanguages 
$ mv /System/Library/Services/AppleSpell.service/Contents/Resources/Russian.lproj /Users/*Your_Home*/zzz_Disabled_Stuff/AppleSpellTest/DisabledLanguages 
$ mv /System/Library/Services/AppleSpell.service/Contents/Resources/Swedish.lproj /Users/*Your_Home*/zzz_Disabled_Stuff/AppleSpellTest/DisabledLanguages
$ exit
As before, replace *Your_User* with your user's short username. Now all I had to do was change the menu itself. First I open the Info.plist file for editing as root in TextEdit:
sudo /Applications/ /System/Library/Services/AppleSpell.service/Contents/Info.plist
You can also edit the plist file with BBEdit or Apple's Property List Editor. In the editor, remove all the languages (under where it says array) except for en, fr, es, and multilingual so that the menu section looks like this:
Save, restart the Mac, and you're done -- and it really works!

[robg adds: In OS X 10.5, I'm not sure if this will break code signing or not. I have not tested this hint.]
  • Currently 1.50 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (10 votes cast)

10.5: Make spell check show only desired languages | 4 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the '10.5: Make spell check show only desired languages' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
10.5: Make spell check show only desired languages
Authored by: lambertd on May 19, '09 04:21:59AM

I like the idea. Here's a another route:

· copy AppleSpell.service to ~/Library/Services/
· Get Info (Cmd-I) on the copy and uncheck unwanted languages
· log out and back in

Diabled languages will still appear in the Spelling and Grammar dropdown list, so if you're really tidy you may still want to edit the info.plist inside the AppleSpell.service package.


[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Make spell check show only desired languages
Authored by: juanfal on May 19, '09 05:54:13AM


have looking for this years!! ago ;)

I only use spanish-english and multilingual not was the best idea.


[ Reply to This | # ]
Success! Plus a suggestion
Authored by: aGr[j5(6WU on May 20, '09 06:00:31AM

An excellent hint for the polylinguist Mac-user — following Lambert's method (sounds like a smoker's solution to a complicated physics problem), I now have German, French, Spanish and UK English spelling check by default!

I think that Lambert's method is the preferable, and should be recommended over the original, for the simple reason that it leaves original System files intact and unmodified. These files are often changed by updates, and of course there's the obvious danger of breaking something if you're new to this kind of modification.
I'd also like to add that, instead of removing the languages files manually as the original post suggests, and rather than simply deselecting the languages in the Info window as Lambert suggests, you combine the two and delete any unwanted languages through the Info window. You can also simply deselect those you may want to use again later. The advantage of this is that you reduce AppleSpell.service's file size by up to half — especially if you trim the PowerPC binary info using "ditto" in the Terminal or one of the many utilities available for this now. Not a huge change (12.1MB down to 6.5MB), but it does no harm, and these savings add up!

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Make spell check show only desired languages
Authored by: rjn on May 29, '09 02:35:27PM

Use with caution. This broke my spell checking completely. Mistakes wouldn't be recognized ever. I had to remove the package from ~/Library/Services to return to normal.

[ Reply to This | # ]