Check Your Speling

It's time to take a break for a little story. Today's story is about how WordPress.com learned to spell.

Several months ago, when we started up this blogging site for y'all, it was an invite-only affair. This little scheme allowed us to manage the growth rate and build up a bit of hype around the 'net. It also let us seed the ranks of WordPress.com bloggers with the people we knew would be strong pillars, for we knew that upon the backs of these giants would be built the towering WordPress.com community.

Sounds kooky, doesn't it? Well, it worked. Here you are, the blogging elite. ;-)

One of my first invitees (we'll call him Clymer to protect his identity) was a distant friend who liked to write everything in a word processor before pasting it into WordPress. Many of you already know what a terrible experience that is. Clymer was not deterred.

When I would ask my friend Clymer why he insisted on using his brand-name word processor despite the horrendous HTML it produced, he always blamed his actions on the lack of a spellchecker in WordPress. Given the choice between a blog visually wrecked by bad HTML and a pretty blog marred with misspelled words, Clymer opted for the ugly blog with good spelling.

Does Clymer's story sound familiar? I've been reading and responding to feedback. I know the score. Just like Clymer, many of you wanted to do all of your editing in WordPress but you couldn't because you required a spellchecker. Friends, your spellchecker is here and I'm going to show you how to use it.

Spellcheck Button
The Button

There is a new spellchecker button in the WYSIWYG editor toolbar that can be activated by clicking on it or pressing the Alt-N key combination. (It's Ctrl-N on a Mac.) After a short delay, any words not known by our dictionary server will be underlined in red.

Spellchecked Text
The Mistakes

At this point, the spellchecker is waiting for you to click on any of these words. When you do, it retrieves a list of suggestions and presents them to you.

Spellchecker Suggestions
The Suggestions

Click the one that you want to replace the misspelled word. When you're done with the spellchecker, you should turn it off so the red-underlined words are returned to normal.

The spellchecker does have some limitations. You cannot add your own words to the dictionary at this time and we do not have such a feature planned. (We will be updating the global dictionary, however, because it's just not right that it doesn't know the words "WordPress" and "blog.") There are also some older browser versions that are not fully supported by this new feature, specifically Firefox 1.0.7 and lower. Also, as evidenced by the title of this post, you can't spellcheck the title field.

Along with this glamorous new feature, we have provided an updated version of the WYSIWYG editor that fixes several bugs and changes the way some things are encoded. Anyone who has struggled with writing code directly into a post will appreciate that the editor is now truly WYSIWYG. <em>See?</em> If you want italics, use the Italics button (or its hotkey). The HTML editor is still available, of course.

Finally, we would like to mention that this feature is on the roadmap for version 2.1 of WordPress, the open-source package upon which WordPress.com is based. Don't thank us, though. Thank Clymer. He's been nagging me for a spellchecker since the day I emailed his invitation.


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Andy Skelton

78 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. linux

    This one is really a must add-on and I am very glad to see this now on WP.com … simply great.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Photo Matt » Awesome Spellchecker
  3. Joerg Petermann

    Nice to see the must-have-function for blogging on WP.com.

    Like

  4. Lee Kelleher

    Excellent add-on… double thumbs-up!

    Like

  5. Alejandro

    Thanks for this! but what about other languages? Will we have spellcheckers in Spanish for example?

    Like

  6. yanis

    Great – however will users that prefer the non-WYSIWYG editor benefit from this new function?

    Like

  7. fancy

    The addon of the spell checker is brilliant guys thankyou !
    I tend to type words backwards at times for some reason and it takes me ages to re – read my posts looking for my errors so thanks a ton from me, and a big a THANKYOU to Clymer!

    Like

  8. murmur
  9. .i dream in red.

    wow. thats awesome!

    Like

  10. bullish1974

    this is just perfect. thanks wordpress.com guys!

    Like

  11. Sukhbir

    I wanted this for a long time. Thanks!

    Like

  12. Mick

    You’ve saved me from myself. Thanks WP.

    Like

  13. Pingback: Wordpress 2.1 with integrated spell checker at g33k blog
  14. karthiksn

    I am a typo king and I needed this very badly thanks Andy

    Like

  15. Shirley

    Yes! Thank you.

    Like

  16. jcraveiro

    Well, I’ll assume that the spell checker is abstracted enough from the language variable, so that it will only be a matter of creating dictionaries in order to have support for other languages — which can (and certainly will) derive from the community.

    If it isn’t, nice work. If it is, great work. ;-)

    Like

  17. paradox

    Oh my God, yES! Thank you so much!

    Like

  18. Pingback: Interknox » Blog Archive » Spellcheck in WordPress…finally
  19. ychittaranjan

    Good Feature. But isn’t “Spelling” (in “Check Your SpeLing”) supposed to be spelt with two L’s & not One!!!

    Like

  20. vjp

    Wow. I guess I should have looked at this before I tried to find another answer. (Now if you can fix the line break problem in the WYSIWYG editor, I’ll be a happy camper :) )

    Like

  21. Sankar

    This is a great feature to have. I am sure that the blogging community here at wp.com will have an typo free blogs from now on!!!

    Like

  22. russellreno

    Clymer rocks.

    Like

  23. hyperreality

    Yay! Very very useful! :)

    Like

  24. K

    I’ve been using this for quite sometime now. I think it comes with Firefox browser or Google, not sure. It simply works with WP.COM while you write an entry. You can also use other languages. Neato.

    Like

  25. David

    You my friend, have answered my prayer!

    Like

  26. lapstre

    Thank you so much!

    Hope you would support common shortforms also…

    Like

  27. bitchg0ddess

    Thank you for the spell checker you guys! Now I don’t have to re-read my entry twice before posting it.

    Like

  28. Pingback: Andy’s Blog» Blog Archive » WYSIWYG Post Control for WordPress
  29. Ryan B

    I am glad to see this, but I have used the html editor since I started going blind, I don’t see the option to turn on/off the WYSISYG editor any longer.

    Like

  30. Pingback: chris-elliott.com» Blog Archive » Maybe I should use wordpress.com
  31. TheShortFatKid

    Good news for the spelling challenged, like me.

    Like

  32. lordgk

    :O :O :O

    Like

  33. Pingback: Adrian Hardy » Wordpress 2.1 will have a spell checker!
  34. Pingback: FileVille Blog » Blog Archive » Wordpress Thoughts
  35. Liski

    Awesome. Day by day WordPress.com is getting better and better!

    Like

  36. Pingback: Wordpress 2.1 will have a spell-checker — cre8d design blog
  37. Pingback: The Musings of Chris Samuel » Blog Archive » Spellchecking in WordPress 2.1
  38. akhater

    GREAT:) simply great i was waiting for this one for so long, next Flickr Support please ;)

    Like

  39. P. A. Monteiro

    Thnak Thank you Clymer, whoever you are. I think I’ve mentioned that you guys rock, so I’m not going to this time. Really.

    Like

  40. Chrono Cr@cker

    YOU GUYS CAN’T TELL ME YOU DON’T HAVE SPELL CHECK IN THE NO-FRILLS EDITOR. (HTML Editor) wth!!

    Look, this is simply amazing, and you guys really give us the best but it’s a shame that the HTML Editor does not have it, a lot of us use this editor and we would really like this, please WordPress.

    Or, Am I the only one who doesn’t see this???

    I remember suggesting something similar for WordPress sometime ago, Matt said no LOL!. http://wordpress.com/forums/topic.php?id=488&replies=10
    :D Rock on!

    Like

  41. Sankar

    A button to increase/decrease the font size would be a very useful feature in the editor. I am keenly looking forward to it.

    Like

  42. Pingback: DENNISBULLOCK.COM » Blog Archive » The Button Is Coming
  43. Chrono Tron - 100%

    Hip, Hip Yahooo!!

    What do call a person who’s floating uber-fast on Cloud #9 or on top the World or flying in space and suddenly recieves more pushes to move him to a position higher? Something higher than the top of the world? Better than Cloud #9? I’m afra…

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  44. steve

    I wrote about a spell check workaround that works with the plain jane or wysiwyg editors on my blog a couple weeks ago. Use the Google toolbar’s spell check function; it even lets you add words to it’s dictionary and works essentially the same as WP’s. But this WP feature is a good second place alternative. What we really need is something that checks on the fly. Is that something you could whip up with AJAX? Maybe a mod on the search function that checks while you type?

    Like

  45. taraden

    Thank you so much, that is really a wonderful feature!

    Like

  46. bsdguru

    Great to see spell checking is in WordPress MU :) Can’t wait for WordPress 2.1 :)

    Like

  47. desimaharaja

    Sweet! Baby Jesus! Thank you! :)

    Like

  48. Alejandro

    @Ryan B: Under Users ==> “Use the visual rich editor when writing” ;)

    Like

  49. Michael

    Thank You

    Like

  50. Flock Sucks

    This is great, but I would really like something for WordPress 1.5. Maybe someone knows of a plugin?

    Like

  51. Pingback: 512 Megas » WordPress.com tiene corrector ortográfico
  52. fuchsiacow

    you guys really rock! great work…

    Like

  53. livingjourney

    Very thoughtful of you guys.

    Like

  54. Chrono Cr@cker
  55. sprikii

    Very useful tool! Yahoo!

    Like

  56. No Title

    Teh Speelcheckar!1

    Andi/a> anuonced at <a href=WorrPress.com bolg taht they habe deviloped a speelckecker for WodPers..com Comunisty.
    Currentcy teh spellckaer onlly avilable on WYSYWYGYG Edutor. If you”re useing HTML EDitor, you stillhave to wait, or laearn h…

    Like

  57. Scott

    For a time, I used the WYSIWYG editor, but when my Google Toolbar spell checker wouldn’t work with it, I went back to the HTML editor. Now that the WYSIWYG editor has a spell checker, I have come back! Plus, if I need to fine tune what I see, I can click on the HTML editor button. Very nice improvement for the best blogging community!

    What about a similar spell-check option for the comments?

    Like

  58. squawkboxnoise

    Who duh man ….. You duh man? Thanks much. I was tired of doing my blog with a crayon and Big Chief Notepad and having my kid check the spelling.

    Like

  59. swartzonmedia

    I like the tool, but I’ve typed my posts in Microsoft word and on wordpress (prior spell check) and there is a big difference. I will have to try the wordpress spell check to see if it works and I’ll probably check the same post in Microsoft word to see how good it is. But I must say this is a great addition.

    Like

  60. altjira

    Nice, but I already use the Spellbound plugin for Firefox/Mozilla, so I can add my own words, spell check any online text box I want, and stick with the uncluttered editor.

    Like

  61. cutter
  62. catharsisofthesoul

    cheers… I’ve been using Word for its spell checker constantly, and have had to go through the problem of having to correct all the HTML problems manually.
    Great addition to an already great service!

    Like

  63. blaze

    Woohoo! Cheers guys. You are geniuses, somewhat :D

    Like

  64. jimwest

    Thanks,

    I needed that. Now if only I can remember to use it.

    Thanks for setting that up.

    Jim

    Like

  65. Lazy Drive

    Guy Kawasaki’s blog. And some gems.

    I'm not a regular subscriber/reader to/of it. Nor am I a great fan of its business-business-business focus. But every once in a while he comes up with gems – and those are more than worth the others that I don't like. (Love its design though. S…

    Like

  66. jimwest

    Just what the doctor ordered.

    Thanks for adding spell check.

    Like

  67. williamparry

    Looks good. Seeing as it is using AJAX, perhaps having a livespell function would be useful, like MS Word for instance?

    Like

  68. andrey

    Me too, I wrote tons of posts in Word and copy-pasted

    Like

  69. Pingback: Tom Raftery I.T. » WordPress.com adds a spell checker
  70. Pingback: Wordpress 2.1 with integrated spellchecker at Am I famous now?
  71. zhaol

    by a sudden i found the whole rich editor disappears. what’s up? hope it back quickly.

    Like

  72. Pingback: Photo Matt » A Little Funding
  73. Pingback: Smart Kid, Smart Entrepreneur Alert! Matt Mullenberg of Wordpress… at Justin Lee’s Web 2.0 Blog
  74. jpbehrman

    so ok I read how great it is, but where do I download it from ???

    Like

  75. Pingback: Spell Checker for Wordpress-- theOlster.net
  76. iuliang

    Very very good job.

    Like

  77. Pingback: Teh Speelcheckar!1 « No Title
  78. keartheartme

    Good news…

    Like

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