Spelling Dictionary

Scrivener uses the dictionary and spelling and grammar checking features that are built in to macOS (as opposed to Word, for instance, which uses its own dictionary and spell checker). This means that, in general, you can set Scrivener's spell-checking to use any language supported by macOS. To change the spell-checking language:

  1. Go to Edit > Spelling and Grammar > Show Spelling and Grammar.
  2. Choose the language from the pop-up button at the bottom of the panel that appears.

By default this should use the primary language set in your System Settings. By default the spelling and grammar panel will be set to use "Automatic by Language". If this option is selected, the text system will try to determine which language is being used by what you type in the document.

Note, however, that macOS doesn't provide spell-checking dictionaries for all of the languages it supports for the user interface. For instance, no Bulgarian dictionary is provided "out of the box". Fortunately Apple has made it easy to add new spelling dictionaries that you can download online, so that you should be able to set up Scrivener to use your preferred language for spell-checking.

The following explains how to add a new dictionary for spelling-checking. macOS can read OpenOffice dictionaries, so in this example we will download an OpenOffice Bulgarian dictionary from the LibreOffice website (the most up to date version of OpenOffice) and install it so that it can be used by most programs on macOS, including Scrivener.

  1. Go to https://www.libreoffice.org/download/download/#change (note that you may need to find a different site that provides the dictionary you need).
  2. Download the "libreoffice-dictionaries-VERSION.tar.xz" file (where "VERSION" is the current numerical version of LibreOffice).
  3. From Finder, use the Go > Utilities menu command and double-click on Terminal.app.
  4. Type in cd ~/Downloads and press Return.
  5. Type in tar xzf libreoffice, press the Tab key to request command completion. The full filename should be expanded for you. Now press Return.
  6. Back in Finder, you'll find a "libreoffice" folder with a "dictionaries" subfolder. Inside that will be a list of folders named by ISO language codes. Locate the "bg_BG" folder.
  7. Copy the files entitled bg_BG.aff and bg_BG.dic.
  8. Go to the ~/Library/Spelling folder in the Finder and paste these two files into that folder. (If you can't find your Library folder, use the "Go" menu with the Option key held down.

Now the Bulgarian spelling dictionary should be available to any application using the macOS text system or libraries (you'll have to close and re-launch programs for them to find it). Quit Scrivener and restart, and you should now be able to select български from the list in the Edit > Spelling and Grammar > Show Spelling and Grammar panel.