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The Input Menu, Item By Item

The previous chapters of this manual are organized by Spell Catcher feature. This chapter is for your reference: it tells you what each command in Spell Catcher’s Input menu does. In reading this material, you may discover Spell Catcher features and settings you never knew existed.

Note: The Input menu is sometimes referred to as the “checkmark” menu.

On 64-bit capable Macintosh hardware running Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), two input methods are available. More information can be found in the Input Methods for Mac OS X 10.6 chapter.

Spell Catcher Input Menu

Tip: You can also access Spell Catcher’s features via the Spell Catcher application’s menus, the Spell Catcher application’s Dock menu, or the Services menu.

Suggest Spelling

Most of the time, you use this command when typing along while Spell Catcher’s Interactive Checking command (described next) is turned on. Spell Catcher beeps, indicating that it has detected a spelling mistake; if you’d like Spell Catcher to suggest a corrected spelling, this command is the one you want. See Interactive Checking for help in navigating the window that then appears.

You can also use this command when Interactive Checking isn’t turned on, or indeed when you’re not even using your computer for typing. For example, you could use it on the spur of the moment while solving a crossword puzzle and getting into a debate with a family member over the legitimacy of the word syzygy. Just choose Suggest Spelling from the Input menu; in the window that appears, type the word you want to check and then click Suggestions. If a list of word suggestions appears, you’ve misspelled the word you typed; otherwise, the words No Current Error appear in the upper-left corner of the window.

Tip: If you like, you can set up Spell Catcher to suggest spellings automatically whenever it detects an error. For details, see the end of Interactive Checking.


Causes Spell Catcher to ignore the current error. Other occurrences of the same error will still be flagged as errors.

Ignore All

This option causes Spell Catcher to ignore all instances of the current error. These errors will be ignored until Spell Catcher quits (shutdown, restart, log out) or you change the Ignore All list (see the Ignore All tab on the Spelling pane in the preferences window).

Forget All Errors

Causes Spell Catcher to forget all errors currently being tracked for the active document. If you need to check for errors after choosing this item, you will need to use the Check Selection, Check Selected Word, or Check All option.

Cancel Last Expansion

In some applications, choosing Edit > Undo after Spell Catcher expands a shorthand abbreviation or completes a word, more than the expansion itself may be undone. This can be “annoying” if (for example) you type some text, then a shorthand abbreviation that you didn’t want or mean to type. If you find that an application’s Undo command also undoes what you typed prior to this “wrong” expansion, Spell Catcher’s Cancel Last Expansion command can be useful—only the expansion will be deleted. Applications with this sort of Undo behavior include TextEdit, and other applications that use Mac OS X’s built-in Cocoa text editing views. In those applications where Undo only undoes the expansion itself, it’s best to keep using it.

Learn Word

Although Spell Catcher’s built-in spelling files contain correct spellings for over 100,000 words, many last names, your company’s trademarked product names, and your favorite Apache Indian words probably aren’t among them. For that reason, Spell Catcher offers this command, which teaches Spell Catcher to accept the currently highlighted word as a correctly spelled one in the future.

When you choose this command, Spell Catcher adds the word to your default learned words file for the currently-chosen language, for example U.S. English-My Learned Words.


When you choose this command, Spell Catcher displays potential completions for the word you are currently typing.

Turn DirectCorrect On/Off

Toggles DirectCorrect on or off. Only enabled when the destination for keystrokes (in general, a text editing area) supports DirectCorrect.

Show/Hide DirectCorrect Inspector

Toggles the visibility of the DirectCorrect Inspector palette. Only enabled when DirectCorrect is turned on.

For more information about the DirectCorrect feature, see DirectCorrect.

Check All

Displays the Check Selection window, checking the spelling of all text in the active window.

Check Selection

If you’d rather type without being interrupted when you make a spelling error, don’t use Interactive Checking mode. Instead run Spell Catcher’s spelling checker after you’re all finished typing. To do so, highlight what you’ve typed—no matter what application you’re using—and then choose Check Selection, from the Input menu.

The Check Selection window appears, so that you can begin the process of checking your spelling. See Check Selection for detailed instructions for conducting your spell checking session and using this window.

Check Word

Displays the Check Word window, with suggested alternate spellings for the word that is highlighted in the active application.

Check Word window

Look Up

When you want to consult Spell Catcher’s impressive collection of built-in reference books—such as its definitions dictionary or thesaurus—this is the command you want. If you’ve just typed the word you want to look up, and Interactive Checking is on in the Input menu, the wording of the command changes to reflect the last word you typed (it might say, for example, Look Up "fishy"). You can also highlight any word you’ve previously typed and then choose Look Up Selection from the Input menu.

Either way, the Look Up window appears, showing a definition followed by a list of synonyms for the word you highlighted. To restrict the dictionaries and/or thesauruses used, select or deselect the corresponding items in the window’s References drawer.

You can also use the Look Up Selection command to look up a word that you haven’t yet typed. From the Input menu, choose Look Up Selection (even though no word is highlighted in your document). Once again, the Look Up window appears, but this time it’s empty. Type a word and click Look Up or press the Return key.

For a complete discussion of the Look Up command, see Look Up.

Find In References

You won’t use this command every day, but it can occasionally be useful. It identifies for you which of Spell Catcher’s reference files—its spelling dictionaries, definition dictionaries, thesaurus, shorthand glossary files, and so on—contains a particular word. You might find this feature useful in, for example, one of these circumstances:

When you choose this command, the Find in Reference window appears. Type the word or shorthand entry you’d like to investigate, and then click Find or press the Return key). Spell Catcher shows you a list of reference files that contain that particular word.

Find in References window

New Shorthand for Selection

This command creates a new shorthand, using the currently-selected text as its expansion. The new shorthand is created in the most-recently added-to Shorthand Glossary document for the current language.

Modify Selection

Use this command to mass-edit chunks of highlighted text in almost any application. You’ll be asked how you want to change the highlighted material—make its quotation marks curly, change it from all capitals to standard capitalized text, and so on.

For a complete discussion of the Modify Selection command and its options, see Modify Selection. For now, simply note that you must highlight some text in some application before using this command.

Interactive Checking

This command is an on/off switch for Spell Catcher’s interactive checking mode, in which Spell Catcher beeps or speaks whenever it sees you make a spelling error or typo. It is also the on/off switch for the expand-as-you-type Shorthand Glossary feature, which is described in Shorthands.

It’s worth noting that Spell Catcher remembers its Interactive Checking on/off status independently in every application you use.

Auto-Show Suggestions

This command tells Spell Catcher to automatically display suggestions whenever you type an error. You can quickly choose whether to use the Suggest Spelling window or Pop-Up Suggestions List from the attached submenu.

Auto-Show Completions

This command tells Spell Catcher to automatically display completions for the word you are typing. Note that the other preferences in Spell Catcher’s Interactive Preferences pane, Completion tab, govern how many characters must be typed before completions appear, and what completions should be automatically shown.


This controls whether Ghostwriter is on or off, and its state is remembered independently for each application you specifically change it in.

Use Speech Commands

This command turns Spell Catcher’s speech recognition for interactive checking on or off.


This command summons Spell Catcher’s Preferences window. This window is the supreme command center for the application; it’s where you indicate exactly how you’d like each Spell Catcher feature to behave.

Tip: The preference settings you make in this window can be either Universal—in effect in every application—or unique to a specific application.

See Preferences for more information about the multitude of ways you can customize Spell Catcher.

Spelling References…

This command opens Spell Catcher’s Preferences window directly to the References pane.

Set Language

This command is actually a hierarchical menu, from which you choose the language whose reference files you wish to have primacy during upcoming operations. In other words, you can choose French just before entering a passage in French and Spell Catcher will check the French dictionary and thesaurus files as you type, if interactive checking is on, or when you choose other Spell Catcher commands.

Set Keyboard

This command is a hierarchical menu, from which you can change the keyboard layout without having to deactivate and reactivate the Spell Catcher input method.

About Spell Catcher

This command summons a window that displays your Spell Catcher version number. The window also contains credits and copyright notices.

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