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10.7: How to enable/disable Auto-Correct Apps
Mac OS X Lion adds a new, more aggressive auto-correct function to Safari, Mail and more. While some may find this to be a godsend, others may find it rather annoying. For example, doing a search for Pat Metheny in Safari will auto-correct to Pat Methane. Not exactly what I was looking for. Fortunately, there are ways to control this behavior both as a system-wide default option and on an app by app basis. Here's what you need to do:

To set the default system-wide state for auto-correct, navigate to System Preferences/Language & Text. Click the Text tab at the top and then you can check or uncheck 'Correct spelling automatically.' In order for this to take effect, your apps must be quit and then relaunched. Upon relaunch, the correct default state for auto-correct will be set.

To enable or disable auto-correct on an app by app basis, you need to be in an active text field (for example, in Safari you could go to Google and click to put the cursor in the search field). From there, navigate to Edit/Spelling and Grammar and then check or uncheck 'Correct Spelling Automatically.'

This was a bit confusing to me at first, because it seemed like there were 2 ways to do the same thing, but they didn't always work. For example, if you aren't in an active text field, the option will be greyed out in the app's Edit menu. It also seemed like the system-wide option didn't work at all until I realized that apps need to be relaunched in order to reflect the change. What I finally concluded is that Apple is giving the user system-wide control over this feature's default state and app by app control to override the system default. Very handy. If, for example, you like this feature in everything but Safari, you would then turn on auto-correct as the system-wide default, then go to Safari and turn it off for just that application.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. If you've disabled it, and do want to do a check, just select 'Check Document Now' from the Spelling and Grammar menu.]
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