Dictionary Woes

For reasons no need to go into here, I sometimes have to switch to American spelling instead of UK English. Though I’m not a huge fan of spellcheck it’s useful for at least one pass through. However, I just can’t seem to get my Mac to switch dictionaries. There’s an error message about the default or customized (yes, US spelling there) dictionary being unavailable. Could be I’ve accidentally deleted something off my computer, or another programme, like Word, is messing my dictionaries up. Can anyone help? Oh, I am on Tiger operating system on the Mac 10.4 (something).

Thanks, John

It’s been a while since I’ve used Tiger, but I’m pretty sure nothing has changed in this regard, so try this: In your home Library folder, under Spelling, do you see several dictionary entries? You might see “en” and “en_GB” at the very least. These two files contain all of your custom words that you’ve added over time. It sounds like perhaps one of them got corrupted, and it should be safe to move them somewhere temporary, like the Desktop, and see if that fixes the problem. If OS X doesn’t find either of these files, it will create new copies the first time you add a word to the dictionary. If moving the files to your Desktop doesn’t fix the issue you could try logging out of your account and back in. If something is still broken, then you might as well move your custom dictionaries back as they aren’t the problem and it would be annoying to have to start from scratch.