Spell checkers are useful tools that highlight spelling mistakes automatically while you write or manually if you prefer it that way.
Most compare what you write to dictionary words and highlight all words that are not in that dictionary.
Browsers, word processors, email and messaging clients, and other tools ship with built-in spell checkers that are only active when these programs are used.
System-wide spell checkers like WordWeb or TinySpell are not nearly as common even though they offer advantages over program-specific tools. Since they run system-wide, they work in nearly all programs that you run on the system even programs that don't ship with spell checking natively.
Another advantage is that there is only one dictionary or database of words to maintain.
Spelr is a free program for the Windows operating system that adds system-wide spell checking to the operating system. It comes as a portable version or installer, and is compatible with all recent and not so recent versions of Windows starting with Windows 2000.
The program adds three hotkeys to Windows that you use to invoke its functionality.
Please note that some or all of the hotkeys may be mapped in programs. Firefox for instance uses Shift-F2 to open the Developer Console. The spelling hotkeys won't work in this case but it is possible to modify them in the program settings to make them work.
The program spell checks the selected text or full document when you use the Shift-F3 shortcut. This worked fine in Notepad and Firefox for example, and should work fine in most programs that you run on the system.
Misspellings are highlighted in a small overlay on the screen. You can use it to replace or ignore a single instance or all instances of a word or phrase, or add it to the personal dictionary to whitelist it.
You need to make sure that the settings screen is not open when you hit the hotkey as it won't work otherwise.
It is possible to edit the personal dictionary directly in the settings which can be useful if you migrate from another program.
The application is compatible with Mozilla's dictionary format which means that you can load Firefox or Thunderbird dictionaries in it to use them.
Auto-correct is another feature of Spelr that is not enabled by default. When enabled, it will correct specific words or phrases listed under auto-correct in the settings automatically.
This is a handy option to correct mistakes that you make over and over again automatically so that you don't have to do so manually.
Last but not least, you may switch from the default en-US dictionary to one of the 20 or so installed dictionaries that cover different languages.
Even if Spelr would not support the Mozilla Dictionary format it would be a useful program for Windows. It is easy to use, stays in the background, is portable, and provides all the customization options that you need to make good use of it.
While I have not tried it, it should theoretically be possible to load your Firefox or Thunderbird dictionary into the program to use it as the primary dictionary for all spell checking.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.