Filed under: emacs

While emacs comes with spell check features, it won’t work until you have ispell on your OSX machine. ispell comes with most linux distributions, but not on OSX, so it was necessary to install it with brew.

brew install ispell

When it works it will display a red squigggly line.


There are alternate spell checkers such as aspell and hunspell which are supposed to help with UTF-8 unicode support and other language specifics.

I’m using the brew info command to find out where the docs might be for each of these packages.

 brew info ispell
ispell: stable 3.4.00 (bottled)
International Ispell
/usr/local/Cellar/ispell/3.4.00 (24 files, 1.7M) *
  Poured from bottle on 2016-05-07 at 22:03:11
 brew info aspell
aspell: stable (bottled), devel 0.60.7-20110707
Spell checker with better logic than ispell
/usr/local/Cellar/aspell/ (183 files, 6M) *
  Built from source on 2016-05-07 at 22:04:43 with: --with-lang-en

When deciding between ispell and aspell, the ispell docs suggest:

Aspell is a spelling checker written by Kevin Atkinson. Its primary advantage is that it is better at making suggestions when a word is seriously misspelled. For example, when given “trubble”, ispell will suggest only “rubble”, where aspell suggests “trouble” (as its first choice” as well as “dribble”, “rubble”, and a lot of other words. Its disadvantage is that the approximate-matching algorithm is specific to English.

I haven’t figured out how to switch from ispell to aspell yet, but it looks like spacemacs prioritizes aspell by default? I’m also looking into this auto-completion menu as well (emacs-ac-ispell)


Found some pretty cool links to read on the spell checker options when ever I get around to it