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Spell Check Dialog Highlights

What is the Spell Check Dialog?

The Spell Check dialog enables you to check your document one-word-at-a-time, i.e. the way most other spell checkers work. You have to use either this dialog or the more efficient alternative (the Inbox), but you need not choose one or the other exclusively: you can switch any time, even in the middle of a spell check. The Spell Check dialog is easier to use initially, and you might prefer it if you don't have a large number of suspect words to deal with. There is an indicator on the Spell Check dialog to alert you when it might be advantageous to switch to the Inbox temporarily to deal with a group of similar suspects.

The Spell Check dialog lets you do all of the standard spell checking functions: accept or save correctly spelled words, fix misspellings and save auto-corrections. In addition, you can look up the spelling of any word in MicroSpell's open dictionaries using wildcard characters to substitute for letters you're unsure of, look up the definition of any word (if you're connected to the Internet), drag-and-drop or copy-and-paste words into user dictionaries, save the current suspect to a document or location-specific dictionary, or easily adjust the capitalization of your corrections. The latter is very useful if you need to distinguish between two letters that look identical in the current font.

After you have dealt with the last suspect, the speller displays the dialog shown here. The top section shows word count statistics (which are also available on the Document List Dialog), while the lower section has buttons for saving your document and/or the suspects which you have accepted. Saving your accepted suspects will keep them from reappearing the next time you check the same document. The Save to DSD then Save Doc. and Save to LSD then Save Doc. buttons save all suspects for which you gave an Accept All command plus those which MicroSpell auto-accepted. You might find it easier to use these buttons instead of the +D or +L buttons discussed below. (You can learn more about saving to the DSD or LSD by taking either of the previous links.)

The Show Outbox for Review/Undo button does the same thing as the Show List button on the Spell Check dialog (see below). However, on this dialog it gives you the option to "back up" after you have finished the spell check. This is especially useful if the only suspects were auto-accepted and you did not have the opportunity to use the Spell Check dialog. You can view the Outbox to undo one or more of your earlier actions, or simply review how all of the suspects were handled. This capability gives users of the Spell Check dialog the same degree of control that users of the Inbox/Outbox combination enjoy.

The Save Document button saves the current document (it is written to disk only if it has been modified), then spell checks the next document, if any. The Cancel button does not save the document and does not proceed to the next document. Any changes you made will remain and you can still save them using the main window Save command.

If you get tired of seeing the button tooltip help, you can turn it off by right clicking on the dialog and unchecking the Show Tool Tip Help option.

Buttons and Controls

Here are descriptions of each of the Spell Check dialog controls. You can jump directly to the documentation for a particular control by clicking it in the figure above.
Allow Once button
This function lets you skip past the current instance of the suspect without changing it. This command is similar to Microsoft Word's "Ignore" command. It is not used very often; perhaps the main use is to accept particular instances of misspellings. It differs from Accept All by not saving the suspect, even temporarily.
Accept All button
This command causes the speller to accept all instances of the current suspect and add them to a temporary user dictionary (the Accept All list). This suspect becomes a "known word" until you exit MicroSpell and can appear as a guess (unless you disallow it), can be used in suspect coloring, can appear in lookup results, etc. For users of earlier versions of MicroSpell, this is equivalent to the "Ignore" command and the keyboard shortcut <I> is also valid. Because this button gets the focus every time the speller scrolls to a new suspect, you can also use <space> or <Enter> as keyboard shortcuts. If you're familiar with Microsoft Word, this is similar to the "Ignore All" command.

Words that you accept remain known only until you exit MicroSpell. If you would like them to be known next time you check this document, you should use either the Save to DSD or the Save to LSD function instead. Alternatively, you can save all of them at once at the end (see above).

If you would like accepted words to be known in the future when you check any document, use the Save Suspect command.

Auto-Correction button
Use this button to make an auto-correction entry using the current Suspect and Replacement box text (this operation ignores any selection in the Replacement box). If this button is not enabled, either the Replacement box contains the same text as the suspect box (you may not replace a word with itself), or the auto-correction save destination has not been set. You can set this using the drop-down menu on the button. Once you have successfully saved an auto-correction, the button text changes to "-Auto-Correct" to indicate that you can undo the save by pressing the button again. See Replace All below for a way to automate creating auto-corrections.
Case Adjust button
Converts the Replacement box text to be capitalized, all upper case, and all lower case, taking one step through this sequence each time you press the button. If there is a selection, only it is affected. Tip: with certain fonts, you cannot distinguish "one" vs. lower case "el" or lower case "el" vs. upper case "i". Occasionally, you'll need to resolve this ambiguity for a particular suspect. Use this command to reveal the identity of the character in question.
Close button
Closes the Spell Check dialog. All your changes are preserved, but the document is not saved immediately. (If it's been modified, the speller will ask whether you want to save it before you exit.)
Context box
Shows the current suspect in context. The suspect is shown in bold type; color is used to split possible compound or run-together words, to indicate recognized and unrecognized fragments, and to show possible prefix-base-suffix splits. (Use the options button to change colors.) If the suspect is close in spelling to the speller's best guess, an underscore indicates where they differ. You can click anywhere in this box to scroll the document so the suspect is visible. You can copy or drag words from here and drop or paste them into the Dictionaries dialog to save them.
Copy Suspect button
Copies the text in the Suspect box to the Replacement box. If the Replacement box has a selection, only the selected text will be replaced.
User Dictionary list
Use this drop-down list to set the current destination for the Save Suspect button.
Guess button
This button runs the Guess function which attempts to find words that are close in spelling to the word in the Replacement box and shows the results in the Guess list. This function runs automatically on each new suspect. To generate suggestions for just part of the text in the Replacement box, highlight that part first. Note: to prevent confusion, the Guess function never returns the exact string for which you request guesses.

If the Replacement box contains either of the wildcard characters ? or * (asterisk), the Guess button becomes the Lookup button. The Lookup function searches all of the open dictionaries for words which match the search string in the Replacement box. You can highlight the desired Replacement box text if you want to focus on less than the entire contents, but make sure your highlight contains a wildcard character. Use ? to stand for any single character; use * to represent any number of characters, including none. Here are some examples. The search key *zz would match all words ending with "zz". The key a*l? matches all words which begin with the letter "a" and have "l" as the next to last letter. The key *d*d* matches all words which contain at least two dís.

These lookups are not case sensitive, and as indicated above, they use all open dictionaries. If you need more control over the search, use the Lookup dialog instead.

Guess list
This list shows the current guesses or lookup results. The capitalization of the guesses is adjusted to match the search word; the lookup results are shown exactly as they appear in the dictionary. Click any line to insert that line into the Replacement box in place of the current contents. If the Replacement box contains a selection, only the selected text is replaced. (Tip: if you unintentionally overwrite your replacement text, right-click in the Replacement box and use Undo to get it back.) Double-clicking any line, or pressing the associated number key, is like double-clicking a guess in the Inbox: a Replace One or Replace All (the default) command is performed depending on the setting in Options|General Preferences|Miscellaneous|Replace Options. Windows limits the number of entries MicroSpell can put on this list; you'll see a warning message if your lookup command matches more than the limit.
Help button
Displays the help topic you are now reading.
Options button
Use this button to change the fonts or colors used in this dialog (the same colors are also used in the Inbox). You can also change or view the auto-accept and auto-correction settings, clear the Accept All list, and make some minor user interface changes such as disabling tool tip help.
Previous Suspect box
Shows the most recent suspect in context. If you made a correction, it is shown in bold green (same as the "Compound Split-1" color on the options dialog) type; otherwise, it appears in bold black type. You can click anywhere in this box to scroll the document so the (previous) suspect is visible. If this box is not blank when the Spell Check dialog first opens, you are seeing one of the suspects that the speller auto-accepted or auto-corrected. You can use the Show List button to display the Outbox if you want to review all of them. You can copy or drag words from here and drop or paste them into the Dictionaries dialog to save them.
Replace All button
This function replaces the suspect that is currently highlighted in the main edit window, and all identical instances of the same suspect, with the entire contents of the Replacement box (the selection, if any, is ignored). To replace only the single instance of the suspect that is currently highlighted in the main document, use the Replace One button instead. The button text changes to "Delete All" if the Replacement box is empty. The button will be disabled if the text in the Replacement box is identical to the suspect because you may not replace a suspect with an exact copy of itself. The speller will remember this correction until you exit by adding it as a temporary auto-correction to the Replace All list. You can have MicroSpell save an auto-correction pair automatically whenever you give a Replace All command by enabling the Make Auto-Correction entries following "Replace All" commands option on the Options | General Preferences | Spell Checking dialog.
Replace One button
This function replaces the suspect that is currently highlighted in the main edit window with the entire contents of the Replacement box (the selection, if any, is ignored). Only one instance of the suspect is replaced each time you press this button. To replace all instances of the same suspect, use the Replace All button. The button text changes to "Delete One" if the Replacement box is empty. The button will be disabled if the text in the Replacement box is identical to the suspect because you may not replace a suspect with an exact copy of itself. If you have enabled the "Make Auto-Correction entries following "Replace All" commands" option (see Replace All above), you can use this function to avoid creating an auto-correction for a particular suspect.
Replacement box
This edit box lets you enter an arbitrary replacement for the suspect. To guard against replacing one misspelling with another, the spelling is checked automatically whenever you modify the text in this box and the color is changed to show the results. By default, MicroSpell will warn you if you attempt a replacement with an unrecognized word; you can disable this using Options|General Preferences|Miscellaneous|Replace Options if the color is sufficient warning for you.

If this box is empty, the Replace buttons turn into Delete buttons and the suspect word highlighting in your document is adjusted to cover any spaces preceding or following the suspect that will be removed with it. If this text exactly matches the suspect word, the Replace buttons will be disabled because you may not replace a word with itself. If there is an exact spelling match (whether or not the capitalization matches) MicroSpell inserts "=" before the label. This is an easy way to tell that the speller is complaining about the capitalization rather than a spelling error.

If you want to focus on part of this text for spelling assistance, capitalization adjustment, etc., highlight the part you want to work with. The Replace One, Replace All, and Auto-Correction buttons ignore any selection and use all of the text in the Replacement box. You don't have to remember this: the pop-up tool tip help for these buttons uses the phrase "full Replacement box text."

Save Suspect button
Use this button to save the current suspect to the user dictionary shown on the user dictionary list. Note that this differs from the Replace/Lookup dialog where the Save button saves the text in the Replacement box. If you want to save something other than the suspect word, you'll have to use the Lookup dialog or drag-and-drop it on a user dictionary. For example, if you want to save an edited version of the suspect, copy it to the Replacement box, edit it, then drag it and drop it on the desired user dictionary icon in the Dictionaries dialog.

Whenever you save the current suspect, the speller automatically does an Accept All command and proceeds to the next suspect. You can use Undo to reverse both the Accept All and the Save, if necessary.

There are two additional special purpose Save buttons that save to the Document-Specific and Location-Specific Dictionaries (described next).

Save to DSD (+D) button
This button works exactly like the Save Suspect button (above), except that it always saves to the Document-Specific Dictionary (DSD). Use this to save suspects that you don't want to see next time you check this document, but which do not belong in your general user dictionary. If the current document is one of a group of related documents (e.g., pages of a web site, chapters of a manual), the Save to LSD function (next item) will probably be more appropriate.
Save to LSD (+L) button
This button works exactly like the Save Suspect button (above), except that it always saves to the Location-Specific Dictionary (LSD). Use this to save suspects that you don't want to see next time you check this document, but which do not belong in your general user dictionary. All documents in a particular location (directory) share the same Location-Specific Dictionary, so this function is preferable to the Save to DSD function (above) if the current document is one of a group of related documents.
Show List button
This button switches to the Inbox where all of the suspect words are visible at once. If there are other remaining suspect words that are similar to the current suspect (e.g., all upper case, repeated, irregularly capitalized, etc.), they will be grouped at the top of the Inbox and selected. You can visually scan the list, fix any problems, then accept the remaining suspects all at once instead of one-by-one as you would do in the Spell Check dialog. You can switch back to the Spell Check dialog using the Inbox Check One-at-a-Time button.

This command lets you easily take advantage of MicroSpell's grouping commands without working exclusively in the Inbox. The "Number of Similar Suspects" Indicator (discussed next) indicates when it is worth switching to the Inbox. This button is also used to gain access to the Outbox where the speller keeps a record of all the Inbox and Spell Check dialog commands you have given and lets you selectively undo them. This dialog and the Inbox use exactly the same keyboard shortcut (<Alt-H>) to switch views. MicroSpell always remembers your current view, so you can use the Spell Check dialog or the Inbox exclusively by simply ignoring the other one.

"Number of Similar Suspects" Indicator
This indicator shows how may remaining suspects are similar to the current suspect. When there are more than a few, it is usually worthwhile to switch to the Inbox to deal with them as a group (see previous item). The text to the right of the meter describes the similarity criterion.
Suspect box
Shows the current suspect. If the suspect is a repeated word, it will be noted here for emphasis. You cannot edit this text; copy it to the Replacement box to work with it.
Undo button
Use this button to undo the most recent command and return to the previous suspect. There is no limit on how far you can undo, but if you want to undo many previous commands, try using the Show List button, then use the Outbox Undo command instead. The advantages are that you can select an arbitrary number of previous commands and undo them all at once, and you can undo any earlier command(s) without undoing all of the intervening commands.
Web Lookup graphic
Click this graphic to look up the text that is selected in the Replacement box, or the current suspect if there is no selection, using one of the Internet dictionary sites. For more information, see How to Look Up Definitions, Synonyms, and Spellings Via the Internet.

Changing Things

The Options button displays the Spell Check Options dialog where you can change colors, fonts, etc. See the discussion above for more information.