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When Spell Catcher is chosen from the Input menu as the active input source, and the Interactive Checking menu item is selected, Spell Catcher is watching what you type.1 When it sees something alarming—that is, when you type a word it doesn’t know, or when you begin a word with two capital letters, it alerts you to the error (according to the way you’ve set your Alert preferences). At that point, you have several choices:
If you are perfectly comfortable with what you’ve typed-if it’s a word like Clintonesque that you made up and don’t intend to use again, for example-just ignore Spell Catcher and continue typing.
Even if you have genuinely made a typo, but you’re in the middle of a magnificent train of prose, you can continue typing to the end of the sentence and only then ask Spell Catcher to propose corrections for the typo. Spell Catcher keeps track of the several most recent errors-you don’t have to stop to correct a mistake the instant Spell Catcher beeps.
If Spell Catcher beeps, and you know exactly why, you can edit the mistake yourself. Despite Spell Catcher’s intelligence in proposing suggested corrections, backspacing over the mistake to correct it yourself is often the fastest course of action. Alternatively, you can:
In any of these cases, the Suggest Spelling window appears. At this point, you can proceed in any of these ways:
If you see the word you intended to type in the suggestion list, double-click it. (Alternatively, click the word once and then click Replace.) The suggestion list goes away, and the corrected spelling appears in your document.
Instead of double-clicking the word, you can also select it using the keyboard-just press the number key that corresponds to the word you want. In Figure 2-1, for example, you could press the number 4. The suggestion window goes away, and once again, the word you selected replaces the error in your document.
(If you don’t see the word you intended to type in the suggestion list, use the scroll bar in the suggestion list to scroll more suggestions into view (or zoom the window to see them all). If you still do not see the intended word, you can enter some other word into the Use field and click the Replace button. Once again, if you spot the one you want, you can either double-click it or press the number that appears next to it.
If you decide that the word you typed was correct after all, but you don’t think you’ll be using the same word again, click Ignore-or type its keyboard shortcut-to ignore the error and close the suggestion list and return to your document (or display the next error if more than one are being tracked).
If you don’t see the word you intended to type into Spell Catcher’s list, you can type it yourself right into the Suggest Spelling window-just edit the text in the “Use” blank at the top of the window. When you’re finished, press the Return key or click Replace to use your own spelling as a replacement for the original error in your document.
You can also, of course, apply any of the other functions described in this section-Learn, Look up, and so on-to the word you’ve just typed as the one to be “Used.”
If you decide that the word you typed was correct, and you think that you may be using it again sometime in the future, consider adding this word to the Spell Catcher word lists. Thereafter, Spell Catcher won’t beep when you type the same word again.
To add a word to the word lists, click Learn or choose Learn Word from the Input menu. In either case, the word is immediately added to the list selected in the pop-up menu to the right of the Learn button.
If you catch yourself making the same typographical error more than once - typing “itno” instead of “into” for example-you’ll really appreciate Spell Catcher’s shorthand features. You can teach Spell Catcher to correct such a typo automatically, from now on, whenever you type it-without Spell Catcher opening any windows, beeping, or otherwise disrupting your life.
To set this up, select the correct spelling from the list or enter it in the Use text box and click the Shorthand button. From now on, Spell Catcher will correct this particular typo automatically, almost invisibly, as you type.
Once you open the Suggest Spelling window, you can also click the Look Up button to consult the Spell Catcher reference books for the word in question (or for the word in the suggestion list that you’ve selected). See Look Up for details on the dictionary and thesaurus.
Spell Catcher can even read a word out loud. Just click a word and then click Speak (the microphone button). Until you click on this button again you can click on any word in the suggestions list to hear it spoken.
Spell Catcher maintains multiple lists of words for the purposes of checking your spelling-one for each language, for example, plus additional word lists of computer terms, abbreviations, and so on. If you see a word in the suggestion list that makes you suspicious, you can identify which word list it came from by clicking the Find button. A window appears that identifies its source.
Most people use Spell Catcher as we’ve just described-when the program beeps, they open the Suggest Spelling window, choose a word from it, close the window, and continue working.
You can save yourself the step of opening the Suggest Spelling window, however, by telling the program to open it automatically whenever it perceives an error. To set up this arrangement, choose Auto-Show Suggestions from the Input menu.
The state of the Auto-Show Suggestions item is remembered for the current application until you manually change it again. When Auto-Show Suggestions is turned on, whenever Spell Catcher detects an error while you are typing, the Suggest Spelling window will open automatically.
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