How to change default language/run spell check?


When I first bought Scrivener it used UK English, as opposed to American English, which is what I wanted. However, at some point (perhaps when I travelled with my laptop to the US?) it started using American English by default. Now, whenever I write, it marks wrong all words that are different in UK and US English. How can I set it back to UK English by default?

Also, is there a way to run a spell check on my document before I export it?

Grateful for any help. Thank you!

Spelling is configured at the system level (we use the same engine that is used to underline words when you type into your web browser, for instance). To change this default, visit the Keyboard system preference panel, and in the “Text” tab, set the spelling to your preferred default.

Thank you! The default language is changed now. But is there a way for me to run a spell check on my document, like I would do in Word?

Sure, if you’re looking a panel like Word, you can either press Shift-Cmd-; or use the Edit/Spelling and Grammar/Show Spelling and Grammar menu command. If you wish to scan through the entire document in one go, select the “Draft” folder in your Binder, and then switch the view mode to Scrivenings. It may take a while to combine everything into a single editor view, so if you’re on an older computer with a large manuscript, it might be better to go through section by section with the spelling panel.


I was wondering the same thing as the OP here, however my problem is slightly different. I want Scrivener to use American English as default. At the same time I am a bilingual user so the spelling at system level (in keyboard–>text) is set to ‘automatic by language’. Now, I am not exactly sure what this means but I assume that, for example, this means that when I write in a text box at a webpage that is set to language A the spell check will adjust accordingly, as it would if I later write in a box at a page with language B.

So, in scrivener this setting seem to result in UK English. Did we specify language when installing Scrivener, or is it by default always UK English? In other words, can I change the settings in Scrivener somehow rather than changing my entire system? In Scrivener you can change the language settings in the ‘general’ pane of ‘preferences’. Here there is only one English option, I suppose this is UK English right?



Automatic means that it will try to guess the language you are typing in on a per-paragraph basis, I believe. It doesn’t always do a perfect job of that, but I think in general it works okay.

Scrivener has nothing to do with the spelling engine, to be clear. All that you are talking about is the Mac OS X spell and grammar check. I don’t know how it attempts to automatically detect British/Canadian/Australian/American English or if it even tries. That would be something to research on the Apple forums.

The “English” setting in Scrivener’s general pane is for the user interface. If you change that you’ll end up with Spanish buttons, menus and whatnot.


See that with the menus now. My bad. I will mess around with the settings (as I have before) and hopefully I will come up with one that lets me have american english as default. Now it seems to change slightly random.

But just to see if I understand. If OS X is set to “automatic by language”, and Scriveners “spelling and grammar” is set to “automatic by language”. Given that my entire system is (layout and all that) is in American English, does this not mean that I should expect Scriveners default to be American English as well?


If you choose “Set up” in the Text panel I was referring to, off of the language drop-down, you should see a list of languages. You can drag and drop these to work in the order you prefer, and disable variants you would never want. I think that should do the trick, but I’ve never tried it.