Troubleshoot Spellcheck

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This wikipage is an outline... imported from a template and being roughed in. But it needs all the help it can get. To avoid stepping on other editor's work, edit a section rather than the entire page.

Most of the Gramps discussion of Spellcheck is from a decade ago. So we need to find people who have personal knowledge to contribute.

This page is not planned be linked to a public page until basic useful information is built out. (At which point, this notice will be removed.)

from : Translating the Gramps User manual - Where to begin...?

Gramps uses PyEnchant for Spellchecking and Grammar composition. A Dictionary is used for localized spellcheck within Note objects. The Affix file contains the rules to allow reports to compose sentences following grammatically correct plural and tense forms.

The Dictionary and Affix files are available from a variety of providers (such as aspell, ispell and myspell). Find the Dictionary and Affix files for your language and install the files in the right place for Gramps to use them. Translate the instructions.

Installing Dictionary and Affix files

Enabling and Disabling Spell and Grammar checking


Fig. .1 General Preferences (Linux)

Select Edit -> Preferences… to access the General tab. This tab contains a Environment Settings section with the option for enabling and disabling the Spellcheck for text in the Note objects.

  • Enable spelling checker: This checkbox option controls the enabling and disabling of the spelling checker for within the Note editor. The gtkspell package must be loaded for this to have an effect.

Fig. .2 New Note - editor dialog - example

Gtkspell working on gramps40.png

Additional Languages

Finding Alternate Language file providers

Selecting a preferred Language

Setting a secondary Language

Adding Custom Entries

Reference Materials that can be used to write this article

From Download:

eMail Archive

Date format:" is set to either European "little-endian" style DAY MONTH YEAR orders, the Parser interprets using the American style MONTH DAY YEAR order

Language checking
This article covers spell checking and grammar checking software.
  • 0003826: Language detection in spelling does not work
  • 0003866: Two "spell" entries
  • 0003976: When enchant is NOT available, setting the environment to LANG=en_GB does not set spell checking to en_GB
  • 0003977: Spell checking interface to gtk is flawed
  • 0004302: Installs French Only
  • 0013031: Initial run of Gramps creates a Spelling user dictionary directory even though an Enchant user directory already exists
installer for 4.2.5 the translation files are
optionals  (around 60 MB versus 80MB)

It is first "official" installer where languages and dictionaries are 
optional. Previously it was only in Gramps5-alpha builds.
Installer size is a little smaller, size of installed app is 3x smaller.
Size of all translations is 30MB and dictionaries 39MB when installed so 
users have option to install only those they need.

Gramps Debug is gone due to the change of tools with which it was 
created. Now gramps and grampsw are created with cx_freeze stubs.
Re: [Gramps-devel] Spell checking in Windows for Gramps 3.3 (and 3.2.6)
From: Josip <josip@pi...> - 2011-05-28 22:34:46

On 28.05.2011 22:31, Peter Landgren wrote:
> Hi Windows people,
> I have been trying to fix spell checking for Swedish (or any other language) in Gramps 3.3.
> I started with Gramps 3.2.6 and got that OK.
> See:
> I must add sv_SE.aff and se_SE.dic from the Open Office spell catalog
> (C:\Program\ 3\share\uno_packages\cache\uno_packages\32.tmp_\dict-sv.oxt\) to:
> C:\Python26\Lib\site-packages\enchant\share\enchant\myspell>
> in order to get Swedish spelling working.

You need dictionary for yours language if you wont spell-check to work. 
It is explained on wiki.

   Peter Landgren <peter.talken@te...> - 2011-05-29 09:34:30  Yes, I know, but the link to the Swedish dictionary ends in a non existent page. 

> Note:
> 1. enchant must be installed
> 2. Aspell is NOT installed.

OpenOffice uses myspell so aspell is not needed (although it can be used 
if you like to use aspell dicts)

> Now I have spell checking working in both 3.2.6 and 3.3.0 for Windows XP.
> Remains to test in Windows 7.
> Note. In 3.3.0 I had to fix

From: Benny Malengier <benny.malengier@gm...> - 2011-05-29 11:02:14

We used pyenchant only to build a list of installed languages, but gramps
spellcheck has always been 100% using gtkspell.
I looked into replacing gtkspell with the pyenchant, and it would be less
usable if we don't implement it by ourselves as gtkspell. (no red wiggle
underline but instead you need to use a toolbar button which then lists
words with problems)

We received a patch so as not to need python-enchant anymore for the list of
languages. It works in ubuntu 10.04 -11-04 and Mac, so the old Turkish bug
is gone at least a year.
If we still need python-enchant for windows, it should come from the windows
developers as a patch checking against windows to import it.


Vassilii Khachaturov
  • 0007097: 3.2K note causes ~10s hang upon open on my system with spellcheck enabled
  • 0003348: Gramps has 7x faster startup without Spell

Missing other languages

Microsoft Window Gramps AIO Installer Choose Components-Selection window.

The default Gramps AIO installer will embed the US dialect of English for the interface with the British spellcheck dictionary.

If you prefer a different language (or spell with the US or Australian dialects of English), please ensure that you pay special attention to the Choose Components phase of the installation.

To install a language other than English, select from both the Translations and Dictionaries during the Choose Components phase of the installation.

Even your primary language is installed by default, you might anticipate the need to spellcheck Notes in other than the British dialect of English. Be certain to select the appropriate languages from Dictionaries. Gramps will not access your Operating System's native dictionary.

There is no simple facility for adding interface or dictionary languages after installation.

Spell Checking:

Gramps uses a different spell checker than the one provided by Mac OS X, with different spelling dictionary requirements. We can't easily provide dictionaries for all of the supported languages in the bundle, but they're easily downloaded from's website. Download the language you want and save it, then navigate to the download in Finder. Most browsers have a downloads window that offers "Show in Finder" in its context menu. Change the file extension from oxt to zip, then from the context menu select Open with... Archive Utility to decompress it. In the decompressed folder or perhaps in a subfolder you'll find the dictionary files in pairs, foo.aff and foo.dic. Some languages have more than one pair with a README file to explain why. Select a pair and copy it to /Library/Dictionaries (you'll have to authenticate with an administrator id and password), and if 'foo' isn't already a language or locale code, make it one. For example, the French package includes several pairs with names like fr-moderne.aff and fr-moderne.dic. The spell checker doesn't recognize those names, so when you copy them to /Library/Dictionaries you must rename them to fr.aff and fr.dic or fr_FR.aff and fr_FR.dic. You can have more than one dictionary pair installed if you use several languages, but one must match the language you use for Gramps or spell checking won't be enabled at all.

See also

Search mail archive for Spellcheck threads
Search mail archive for PyEnchant threads