British English instead of American default?

Hey there, is there a way to change the program to work in British English (colour, not color) instead of only defaulting to American spelling? My system is set to Australian English but the only option is just ‘English.’

Welcome to the forums.

In Scrivener for Mac:

  1. spelling and grammar should respect the setting in:  → System Preferences → Keyboard → Text → Spelling → declared language

  2. the user interface at Scrivener → Preferences → General → Language → Interface Language → declared language allows users to change the language Scrivener uses for menu items. It does not change the language used for spelling and grammar. The English used in the interface is mainly US English, with spellings such as ‘color’. Your actual writing space should be in whatever language is set in System Preferences

I don’t know how things work in Windows. Possibly this:

As far as the system language goes, there’s only one English option, but you can change the dictionary to British English. On Mac, your language should be auto-detected and respect the language you’ve set for your system and keyboard in System Preferences. I’ll include instructions for adjusting the Windows dictionary below:

To adjust the System Language

  • Launch Scrivener
  • Go to File → Options → General → Language
  • Click the dropdown and select your language of choice. Please note that some of these are designated as “Preview Available,” meaning they are still being tested and updated. If you have any feedback when using one of these languages, please send it in!

To adjust the Dictionary language

  • Launch Scrivener
  • Go to File → Options → Corrections → Spelling
  • Click the “Download” button next to the Dictionary language box
  • Select your language of choice and click “Download.”
  • Click “Close” when the download has completed.
  • Click “Select” and click on the language dictionary you would like to use.
  • Click “Okay.”
1 Like

Thank you. It’s sorted for me. Initially I never looked beyond the system language to the dictionary language.

Hi there: thank you and I apricate the replies.
As I’m working with a Windows 11 machine, none of these examples actually work for me. All my computer sees is ‘system default,’ and any English setting in systems just snaps back to ‘English.’

As I mentioned in my post, there is only one English option at a system level—you can’t specify British English for the menus. If you want the text that you type in Scrivener to allow for British English (not underline “colour” in red, etc.), then you’ll need to change the Dictionary language following the steps I provided.

Hi, was reading the answers above but I have to say that I have no idea where to find these…

  • Go to File → Options → Corrections → Spelling
    Anyway, I have noticed that the automatic correction (grammar or spelling) is completely off. I mean, if my language is English, for example if I write automation, it underlines it in blue and wants to correct to automatoin
    mainly it doesn’t correct and when it wants to, it is completely wrong!
    this is very weird, is this a problem with Scrivener or Mac ?
    I noticed that the dictionaries are from the system (Mac). How to correct this?

On the Mac, it’s Scrivener → Preferences → Corrections (what you’ve found is for Windows), but also check Scrivener → Preferences → General → Language.

Also, spelling on the Mac is handled by the System, so you need to look at
Apple → System Preferences → Keyboard Text pane, and System Preferences → Language and Region.

Hope that Helps. :smile:


yep, had all that checked anyway, still doing weird things
trying to send a screenshot here but doesn’t let me

Something else to check is to open TextEdit on your Mac and see how it handles those same words and punctuation.

Scrivener for Mac is built on the same text engine that Apple’s TextEdit uses. If it has the same behavior, then it is likely a Mac issue and not Scrivener-specific.

A comparison to either Microsoft Word or Apple Pages isn’t helpful because each of those programs has its own, proprietary text engine.

Out of interest, as a British company, why did you choose American English for the system menus?

I’m not entirely sure! That’s outside of the scope of my role, though I’m sure it was an intentional decision for one reason or another. Our website favors British spelling, however—Americans occasionally email in letting us know that “licence” is spelling incorrectly, not realizing the difference in the American and British spellings.

1 Like