Different Dictionaries for Different Projects

I know similar issues to this have been brought up before, but I’d love to be able to use different dictionaries for different projects. For me, I work in both UK English and American English, and I keep these projects in different Scrivener documents, but whenever I set the spell check dictionary in one document to UK, it lights up my entire American English document with spell check errors, and vice versa.

I’d love to be able to tell Scrivener to use the UK English dictionary “for this document only” while my other projects stay in American English so that my spell check dictionary and I aren’t perpetually at each other’s throats.

It could be you are referring to these prior discussions, but in case not:

In summary: we’ve never felt like this was a bad idea, but it is impossible for all practical purposes for us to implement it. You can’t tell the Mac to only highlight some kinds of words in this text window and other words in this other split over here and a third dictionary for the Notes in the Inspector—or even in a broader sense to say that one project uses UK English and another French. The same highlighting that is done while you type into Safari or Mail is what you’re seeing in Scrivener.

Amber, I’m looking over your response, and I have a question. You say it’s not possible on a Mac. Is it also impossible in Windows? I know you try to make the versions roughly the same, but I also know revision mode exists on Mac and not on Windows, so it’s not unprecedented. I know some people would like to use multiple dictionaries for a single project (like in some of the other threads you mentioned), but I think for most fiction writing, one language per project is all we need, so having different dictionaries for different sections would be unnecessary.

Just asking, because I have the exact same questions and problems as the OP. The spelling actually helps me get ‘into voice’ on my MS, so having the wrong dictionary can really throw me off, and I’m not brainy enough to remember to switch it every time I switch between projects.

Hmmmm…I’m actually not exactly sure why the ‘active language’ can’t be a saved setting for a project without looking directly at the code, unless on Mac’s when you change the active language in the shared dictionary it changes it for every program that uses that dictionary I don’t see why from a code perspective it wouldn’t be possible. Now, I can see a complication with adding this feature in a Scrivener update as it could create compatibility problems with projects created pre-update, although there are always ways around that problem.

This is an entirely different issue from wanting multiple user-defined dictionaries, which is what the first link is about, although as most people don’t work in various languages (even if each project is a single language) I can understand why it hasn’t been implemented. I can see ways it would be possible to do, mostly by creating a project specific settings file for each project that acts as an overruling settings file from the generic settings file (which could be set to be overwritten after loading a project specific one so your next project starts with the same settings as the last one you worked on), but unless a lot of people want such a feature set I can see it being a very low priority to add.

Now, unless trying to implement this change would have to be done through the shared dictionary on Macs it shouldn’t really be any more improbable for Macs than for Windows. If it would require a change to the shared dictionary on Macs then it should still be possible for Windows, much like the multiple user-defined dictionaries conundrum.

On the Mac, dictionary and thesaurus access is provided by the system with Apple’s Dictionary.app, including user additions, and so the same dictionary is available across the system. To change to a different language for a project, you have to change your system settings. So to implement project-specific dictionaries, Keith would have to write his own dictionary code.

It might well be easier to implement in Windows, which I believe uses aspell, but there are many who use Scrivener on both platforms, and the result of having project specific dictionaries on one but not the other would be maddening.


Mr X

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Well, that confirms my guess as to what the biggest hindrance to such a feature would be, and sadly it confirms that until Apple’s Dictionary.app supports such a feature for client programs it won’t be coming at all. I’ve noticed that although there are other platform specific features that people have mentioned the dictionaries (despite being different between the different platform versions) are kept as identical on the user-interface side of things as possible. Considering that there are people who jump between platforms using Scrivener I’d have to say that I can completely understand why that is so.