Check spelling and grammar

In many Mac OS X applications you can check spelling, or both spelling and grammar, in documents such as TextEdit files or email messages.

Note: Many applications have some, but not all, of the spelling and grammar options. For example, in some applications the Edit menu has a “Spelling” option instead of a “Spelling and Grammar” option.
If you don’t see either “Spelling” or “Spelling and Grammar” in the Edit menu, the application doesn’t provide the Mac OS X spell-checking feature. Check the application’s preferences or menus to see if it has its own spelling checker.

Accept or ignore suggested words
Mac OS X uses “text prediction” to assist you as you type, by showing you suggested words below the word you are typing.

  1. To accept a suggested word, press the Space bar and continue typing. If multiple suggestions are shown, click the one you want to accept.
  2. To ignore the suggested word, continue typing as usual.

Check the spelling of a single word
Select the word, and then choose Edit > “Spelling and Grammar” > “Show Spelling and Grammar.”

Check spelling in an entire document

  1. With the document open, choose Edit > Spelling and Grammar > Check Document Now. The first error in your document is highlighted.
  2. Either correct the word or leave it as is, and then press Command-semicolon (;) to see the next error.
  3. To see suggested alternate spellings for a word, and get easy access to other spelling and grammar commands, hold down the Control key as you click an error.

Check spelling and make corrections as you type

  1. Open the application you want to use and choose Edit > Spelling and Grammar > Check Spelling While Typing. When you mistype or misspell a word, it’s underlined in red.
  2. If you want to correct misspellings as you type, choose Edit > Spelling and Grammar > Correct Spelling Automatically. Misspelled words are corrected if they don’t begin with a capital letter and don’t appear on a line of their own.

These steps enable spell check and auto-correction for the current document. Some applications, such as TextEdit, let you set a preference to enable the feature for all new documents. You can also enable this feature for all documents in applications that support this feature. To do so, select “Correct spelling automatically” in the Text pane of Language & Text preferences.

Check grammar along with spelling
With the document you want to check open, choose Edit > Spelling and Grammar > Check Grammar With Spelling, so there’s a checkmark next to it.

Misspelled words are underlined in red and grammar errors in green.

Use advanced spelling and grammar options

  1. With a document open, choose Edit > Spelling and Grammar > Show Spelling and Grammar.
  2. To change the language, choose it from the pop-up menu. If you want to see more language options, choose Open Text Preferences.
  3. To check grammar along with spelling, select the “Check grammar” checkbox.
  4. If an error is found, do one of the following:
  5. If one of the suggested alternatives is correct, select it and click Change.
  6. If none of the alternatives is correct, retype the word or words and click Change.
  7. If you don’t want to make a correction, click Ignore. The error is ignored if it occurs again in the current window, but is highlighted if it’s found in other windows.
  8. If you don’t want the word to be treated as an error, click Learn to add it to your personal dictionary. (In some applications, you can Control-click the word and choose Learn Spelling from the shortcut menu.)
  9. To review a definition of a suggested alternative, select it and click Define.
  10. If no alternatives are listed, click Guess to see whether any possibilities appear.
  11. To continue checking without making any changes, click Find Next.

If you accidentally add a misspelled word to the dictionary, type the misspelling in the Spelling and Grammar window and click Ignore, or Control-click the misspelling and choose Unlearn Spelling from the shortcut menu.

Check for errors missed by the spell checker
It’s a good idea to read through your document yourself, even if you use the spell checker. If you type “fine” instead of “find,” for example, it won’t show up as a misspelled word.

To easily identify such errors, highlight the text you want to check and choose Edit > Speech > Start Speaking.



TextEdit lets you create all kinds of text documents. It includes tools to format and layout your page, edit and stylize text, check spelling, create tables and lists, import graphics, work with HTML, and even add music and movie files. Here are some of the things you can do in TextEdit.
TextEdit does more than just let you edit text. Take a look at some of the things you can do to your documents.

Open TextEdit from the Dock, or in the Launchpad (for OS X Lion).

Start typing whatever you want in the window. If you want to change the text alignment from the default left alignment, highlight the text and click one of the four alignment buttons in the toolbar to align left, center, justify, or align right.

TextEdit automatically checks spelling as you type and will underline words that it thinks are misspelled with a red dotted line. If you need help with the correct spelling, highlight the word and from the Edit menu, choose Spelling and Grammar, then Show Spelling and Grammar from the submenu to open the Spelling window. The window displays its best guesses for what you were trying to spell. To correct your mistake, select the correct word and click Correct. TextEdit will also automatically correct your spelling as you type or present you with spelling options for the word you are trying to spell.

TextEdit has a built-in spell check and will automatically correct your spelling as you type.
To change the font, from the Format menu, choose Font > Show Fonts. In the resulting Font window, select a font typeface and size from the columns. You can also choose to add an underline, add a strike-through, change the text color, and add a text shadow from the pop-up menus at the top of the Font window.

To add a photo, music, or movie file, just drag the file from a Finder window to the document.

To create a list, choose a list style from the list pop-up menu. You can pick options like bullets, numbers, or lettered lists.

Begin typing your list. To end your list, choose None from the list pop-up menu.

Instead of manually entering bullet points, numbers, or letters, use the Lists pop-up menu to have TextEdit create the list formatting for you
To create a table, from the Format menu, choose Table. In the resulting Table window, enter the number of rows and columns you want, select the text alignment, choose the cell border thickness and color, and choose a background color. Your TextEdit document updates as you make changes.