If you use OS X’s built-in spellchecker, chances are that you’ve added custom words to your dictionary. For example, here at Small Dog, we frequently write “Smalldog.com”. By default, OS X’s spellchecker doesn’t recognize that word because it’s not in its dictionary. To save a couple of seconds a day, I’ve added it to my Mac’s spellcheck dictionary.

You can easily add custom words to your Mac’s dictionary by invoking the spellchecker, highlighting the word it doesn’t recognize, then clicking the “Learn” button. Invoke your Mac’s spellchecker in most apps by holding down the Command-Shift-; keys, or else by navigating to Edit > Spelling and Grammar > Check Document Now.

There have been times when I’ve accidently added words to my dictionary. This has included misspellings. Fortunately, it’s easy (though not obvious) to remove these misspellings from your Mac’s custom dictionary.

My recommended method for editing your Mac’s custom dictionary is to download the free Dictionary Cleaner application. This adds a small preference pane to your System Preferences panel, where you can easily view and remove the custom words you’ve added to the dictionary. You can download this app by clicking here.

You can also navigate to the Library folder in your User account on your Mac, where you’ll find a folder called “Spelling.” If you open this file with a basic text editing program, all you’ll see is a big cluster of words. These are the words you’ve added to your library. Before deleting any of these words, it’s better to use a program such as Text Wrangler (free, click here to get it) that allows you to see invisible characters. Now the words you’ve added are separated by red ¿ symbols. You can easily delete these. However, I still recommend Dictionary Cleaner

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