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A Spell Catcher Crash Course Tutorial

Once you've successfully installed Spell Catcher, you may well want to get going trying it out. Here's a five-minute tutorial that shows you some of the program's main features. Before you begin, note the Input menu (an icon-probably still a flag right after installing Spell Catcher) in the menu bar. If you don't see a yellow checkmark icon, or see a flag icon instead, choose Spell Catcher from the Input menu. This is Spell Catcher's Input menu, your most common access point to the program's features. If you don't see the Input menu at all, please refer to Troubleshooting for advice.

Spell Catcher X Input menu

For this exercise, we'll use a program that every Mac has-the under appreciated TextEdit application. From your Applications directory, open TextEdit. At this point, pull down the Input menu and make sure that the Interactive Checking item has a checkmark next to it, meaning that Spell Catcher is prepared to watch your typing as you type. If the Interactive Checking item isn't checked, choose Interactive Checking to turn it on before continuing.

  1. Type the following, complete with the typo in the fifth word:

    I think that I shal never see.

    Unless you've muted your Mac's speaker, you should hear a voice say, "Curious!" just after typing shal. That's Spell Catcher telling you that you've typed a word it doesn't recognize-maybe a typo, maybe a misspelling, or maybe just a word it doesn't know. (In the next chapter, you'll find out how to change this sound, blink the menu bar, do nothing at all, or automatically show suggestions whenever an error is detected). Note that you've typed beyond the error-that's totally okay. Spell Catcher is prepared to correct the most recent error, even if it's several lines back. (In fact, it tracks the last several errors, as you'll find out in the next chapter).

  2. From the Input menu, choose Suggest Spelling for "shal." The window shown in Figure 1-2 appears. As you can see, it offers logical suggestions for correcting your typo. The first choice, shall, is what you actually want. You can double-click the word shall in the list, of course, but since you've just been typing, your hands are still on the keyboard. You'll save time by using the keyboard shortcut. See the number 1 listed beside the word you want in the corrections list?

    Suggest Spelling window, suggestions for "shal"

  3. Press the number 1 key.
    Instantly, Spell Catcher corrects the spelling mistake-and then its window disappears.

  4. Continue typing:

    A poem as pretty as a tree.

    Let's see...pretty...pretty...that may not be the strongest possible word here. It's time to call on Spell Catcher's thesaurus.

  5. Highlight the word pretty by double-clicking it.
    From the Input menu, choose Look Up "pretty". The window shown below appears, showing dozens of synonyms for the word pretty. Let's suppose that you settle on lovely.

    Look Up "pretty" results

  1. Click lovely once, and then click Replace.
    The window goes away, you return to your poem, and you see that the word lovely has replaced the original highlighted word pretty. But now, having just returned from 12 years living in the Antarctic, let's suppose that you're a little vague on the exact meaning of tree. Maybe you'd better check Spell Catcher's dictionary.

  2. Double-click the word tree.
    From the Input menu, choose Look Up "tree". Once more, the Look Up window appears.

  3. Scroll down to see the Dictionary Definitions if necessary. You can also click on "Dictionary Definitions" in the References drawer. Make sure that the "Dictionary Definitions" box is checked.
    Sure enough, Spell Catcher identifies tree as "a tall woody plant." Your memory serves you well!

    Look Up "tree" results

  4. Close the Look Up window.
    You've had just a taste of the ways Spell Catcher can help you with your writing. For more on the spelling checking features, read Spell Checking; for details on the look up features, see Look Up.

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