It was yesterday that we reviewed the Firefox add-on Wikilook which proved to be a great way of looking up word definitions without leaving the active website. Dictionary.net is more or less the software counterpart of Wikilook. The software program uses the Google Dictionary service to look up word definitions. But that is just one of the features that the dictionary software offers to its users as it also provides access to translations, suggested terms and definitions taken from sources like Wikipedia.
Here is how it works. The program is portable but requires the Microsoft .net Framework 2.0 to be installed on the computer system. Windows Vista and Windows 7 come with this Framework by default and most XP users should have it installed as well.
The dictionary software will display its interface which is set to be always on top by default. The user can now enter a word directly into the interface or use one of the shortcuts to feed the program from within other applications.
To look up a word in the Google Dictionary a user would simply select a word or phrase in the active application, for instance a web browser, Microsoft Word document or email client, and press the [Alt Z] shortcut to send that phrase to the dictionary software which will automatically display the requested information in its interface. The middle-mouse button is also configured to send the phrase or word to the dictionary application. This might interfere with other add-ons or functions in specific programs. Both the hotkey and mouse option can be edited in the options of the software to avoid conflicts.
Additional shortcuts become available if the interface of Dictionary.net is the active window. The hotkey [Alt T] will translate the selected text by trying to automatically identify the language and displaying the most likely result.
The hotkey [Alt W] will display definitions of the word or phrase in the program's interface. The shortcut [Alt D] finally will display the Google Dictionary entry of the selected phrase in the program. Links that are displayed are opened in the default web browser. It is furthermore possible to save results as htm or txt files, open supported document formats for automatic translation and to configure a proxy server is that is necessary.
Dictionary.net is a lightweight software program that combines Google Dictionary, Google Translate, Google Suggest and word definitions in one interface. It can be downloaded from the developer's website. It has a size of only 161 Kilobytes.Advertisement
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