Spelling, grammar, and thesaurus

Checking spelling

Writer provides a spelling checker, which can be used in two ways.

AutoSpellcheck icon AutoSpellcheck checks each word as it is typed and displays a wavy red line under any misspelled words. When the word is corrected, the red wavy line disappears.

Spelling and grammar icon To perform a separate spelling check on the document (or a text selection), click the Spelling and Grammar button. This checks the document or selection and opens the Spelling and Grammar dialog if any misspelled words are found.

Selecting a word from dictionary

Selecting a word from dictionary

Here are some more features of the spelling checker:

  • You can right-click on a word with a wavy underline, to open a powerful context menu. If you select from the suggested words on the menu, the selection will replace the misspelled word in your text.
  • You can change the dictionary language (for example, Spanish, French, or German) on the Spelling and Grammar dialog.
  • You can add a word to a dictionary. Click Add in the Spellcheck dialog and pick the dictionary to add it to.
  • The Options dialog of the Spellcheck tool has a number of different options such as whether to check uppercase words and words with numbers. You can also manage custom dictionaries; that is, add or delete dictionaries and add or delete words in a dictionary.
  • On the Font page of the Paragraph Styles dialog, you can set paragraphs to be checked in a specific language (different from the rest of the document). See Using language tools for more information.

Note: OpenOffice.org does not include a grammar checker, but you can install a grammar checker extension such as Language Tool and access that extension from Tools > Spelling and Grammar. (See this page for more about installing extensions.) Language Tool adds a new menu item and submenu to the Tools menu, from which you can configure the tool and check or recheck the document. The figure below shows the Language Tool extension in use.

Using the Language Tool extension

Using the Language Tool extension

Using the thesaurus

The thesaurus offers alternative words and phrases. Select the word or phrase you want to find alternatives for and select Tools > Language > Thesaurus or press Control+F7. Click on a meaning to show alternative words and phrases for that meaning of the word. For example, when given the word “house”, the thesaurus offers several meanings, including “dwelling”, “legislature”, and “sign of the zodiac”. If you click on “dwelling”, you will see “dwelling”, “home”, “domicile”, “abode”, and other alternatives.

The thesaurus offers alternatives to words

The thesaurus offers alternatives to words

Note: If the current language does not have a thesaurus installed, this feature is disabled.

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This book is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, version 3.0.

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3 comments on “Spelling, grammar, and thesaurus
  1. Don’t get me wrong, Open Office is great. But don’t you think all the spell check and grammar check features are decreasing our individual to spell words and formulate sentences effectively?

  2. Jean says:

    Tools are tools; how people use those tools is what matters. I am a professional editor; I know ways to use the tools to help me find errors, but I use my own judgement in determining whether the errors identified really are errors — and if so, what to do about them. Many people rely too much on spelling and grammar checkers, with sometimes hilarious (and sometimes quite unfortunate) results.

  3. Helen Bredson says:

    Thesaurus and dictionary are really useful tools, I sometimes use them in different cases. In my professional activity I prefer online versions of them, because they avaliable anywhere, where I can get Internet access, like online thesaurus. And it’s also great news that I’ll can use one more useful offline tool.