How can I remove incorrect words from one of Scrivener's spell check dictionaries?

How can I remove incorrect words from one of Scrivener’s spell check dictionaries?

Some of the built-in words in Scrivener’s spelling correction dictionary are incorrect. With built-in I mean that I did not tell Scrivener to learn this word - I read that there is an “Unlearn” function to fix that. I am talking about incorrect words that come with the dictionary when you download it.

Yesterday I installed the newly downloaded Windows version of Scrivener, and also downloaded the “German (Germany)” dictionary. Scrivener was not previously installed on this PC. Works like a charm. With the exception of words that do not exist in the German language, at least not in the usage position they occur in my text. I just caught that the spell checker views “Vertreten” as a correct Word in the middle of a sentence. This word exists, but it only exists as a verb, and thus it is only correct to start it with a capital “V” at the start of a sentence. In English, this would be like saying that the spelling of the English word “Behave” is OK, if used in the middle of a sentence - but actually you could only use a capital “B” if “behave” is the first Word of a sentence.

As “Vertreten” is a word hard-wired in the “German (Germany)” dictionary, how can I tell Scrivener’s spell checker that the word is incorrect? I would really love to see it flagged as incorrect when I misspell the word again.

Thanks for listerning

In Scrivener for Mac, the dictionary/spell check comes from the OS-provided service, so you would manage it through the built-in Mac dictionary.

In Scrivener for Windows, the dictionary function comes from the OSS package Aspell, which Scrivener bundles into the compiled Scriver executable. The dictionaries by default are stored under the Aspell\Dict folder underneath where your Scrivener installation is stored (for me on 64-bit Windows 10 it is “C:\Program Files (x86)\Scrivener\Aspell\Dict”).

From there, you would need to edit the appropriate dictionary file for your language. I do not know the Aspell format off the top of my head, so you may need to look around and find out how Aspell formats their dictionary files in order to make sure your edits keep the file in a healthy state. Make sure you create a backup of the original file before you edit it! I also don’t know if this is something that Scrivener support will help you with – I suspect not – so having that backup to revert to default behavior in the event of an issue is a prudent idea.

Do keep in mind, though, that Aspell is just a spelling checker – not a grammar checker! If you remove a word because of capitalization, it will never be flagged as correct with that capitalization even if it started the sentence and would otherwise have been correct.

Good luck!

Hi Devin,

thanks so much for taking the time to explain the background in so much detail! I really appreciate this, as it saves me a lot of time.

I use Scrivener on Mac, Windows 10 and iPad. Now that I know that the spell checker is implemented differently on each platform, I will just use it for on-the-fly checks, and will not rely on it too much.

MS Word’s spell (and grammar) check it is then, as the strongest spell & grammar check software for the German language went belly-up some time ago (Duden’s Word plugin).

In case any German author ever comes across this post:
You might want to look at trying the German product Papyrus; its spell / grammar / style checking capabilities are legendary. Why I decided against using it? Papyrus’s tendency to present its useful results within a plethora of less-than-useful remarks costs me more time to identify the problem than using and proofreading the text another three times would. :slight_smile:

Again, thanks a lot for saving me loads of time, Devin!


Hi merusal,

I love the automatic corrections as you type, but the English corrections seem to have the same problem you have. A correction of friend becomes Friend, sweet becomes Sweet, etc.

The English file is called en-only.rws. I repaired the file using a binary editor (Hex Editor Neo) which was free for testing. Just search for the offending corrections and change them. Do not add or remove any letters. If you start up Scrivener and nothing happens, you’ve done something wrong with the file, so keep a backup. I changed a lot of unwanted corrections to Q…Q, meaning that things I didn’t want just became a list of Qs with the same number of letters as in the original words.


Thanks a lot for this info, Eric!