Improve Firefox’s spell check feature

One of my favorite features in Firefox is the built-in spell checker. Two recent tips I learned are worth noting to improve the power of this feature.

Change the way misspelled words appear.

The default red squiggly underline for misspelled words is often too subtle for me. So I really like this tip, courtesy of downloadsquad. To change the indicator to something more obvious like a solid double-underline or

  1. Type about:config in the Firefox address bar. If it pops up an alert, tell it that you know what you’re doing and proceed.
  2. Search for ui.SpellCheckerUnderlineStyle. If you find anything, skip to step 4. If your system is like mine, you found nothing. That means you have to add this configuration value. Right-click any where in the whitespace of the window and select New > Integer.
  3. Enter ui.SpellCheckerUnderlineStyle to create a setting by this name.
  4. Set the value of this setting to one of several options: 0 for no highlighting, 1 for a dotted line, 2 for long dots, 3 for a single straight line, 4 for a double underline, and 5 for a squiggly line (the default).

This setting doesn’t require restarting Firefox. It’s effective immediately, so open another tab and test each style to see what looks best.

Remove mistakenly added words from the Firefox dictionary.

I frequently customize the Firefox dictionary by adding new words that I know are spelled correctly but aren’t in the default word list. This is as easy as right-clicking on a word flagged as misspelled and choosing “Add to Dictionary.” Unfortunately, sometimes I do this too quickly and add a word I shouldn’t have. Thankfully, Lifehacker published instructions on how to remove misspelled words from your Firefox dictionary:

  1. Open your application data folder. On XP or Vista, go to your Start menu and hit Run (or just press Windows-R) and paste in %APPDATA%MozillaFirefoxProfiles; on your Mac, navigate to ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles.
  2. Find your profile folder, which by default should look something like something.default.
  3. Inside your profile folder, find the file called persdict.dat and open it up in a text editor.
  4. Find the misspelling, delete it, and save the file.
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