How to Spell-Check a Document

It is very easy to spell-check and correct any text file using ispell.

  1. If you have been editing the file, save it and exit the editor.
  2. From the command line, run ispell on the file of your choice:

    % ispell README

  3. Ispell will search for misspelled words. When one is found, it will appear at the top of your screen, together with a few lines from the file. The incorrect word will be highlighted.
  4. If ispell can guess at the correct spelling, there will be a numbered list of suggestions. Type the number corresponding to the proper spelling to correct the word.
  5. If ispell can't guess, or if the guesses are wrong, type r to replace the word with another one. Ispell will prompt you to enter a correction.
  6. If ispell is just plain wrong (e.g., the word in question is your name), type i to insert it in your personal dictionary. Ispell will never complain again, even on other files. Be sure you don't insert misspellings in your personal dictionary!
  7. Sometimes you will want ispell to ignore a word just this once. Hit the space bar to move to the next word.

There are several other correction options, but these should be enough to get you started. Other options are listed in the mini-menu at the bottom of the screen; type ? for help with them.

© 2001, Geoff Kuenning

This page is maintained by Geoff Kuenning.