Tuesday, January 15, 2008

InDesign spell check workaround

When you run a spell check (Edit > Spelling > Check Spelling) or use Dynamic Spelling (Edit > Spelling > Dynamic Spelling), InDesign checks the spelling of all the text in your document, including text on the master pages, and even text on locked and hidden layers! But what if want to check your spelling document-wide, but want to eliminate certain parts of the text from the spell-check process? Perhaps you have some "Lorem Ipsum" text that you have used as a placeholder, and you are annoyed by the spell check constantly flagging these these nonsense words as misspelled.

To solve this, simply select the text you do not want to check, and then choose [No Language] from the Language option in the Character panel or the Character Control panel. When no language is specified for text, InDesign doesn't know what dictionary to consult to check the spelling, and therefore ignores the text. Beware that the spelling dictionary is also used for hyphenation, so if you set the language to [No Language] the text will not hyphenate.

I was once asked to troubleshoot a file where the spell check had mysteriously stopped working. It turned out that the language had somehow accidentally been set to [No Language], but the user wasn't aware of it. Yet another reason to use paragraph styles, and to specify the Language in the style.


Unknown said...

Hi Keith,

Enjoyed your MAGC talk earlier this year.

We've started using InDesign (me, designer) and InCopy (the content writer) to collaborate.

I find that it's become extremely clumsy to spell check. If I don't have every article checked out, it seems to skip obvious misspellings, and doesn't ask me if I want to check out articles with misspellings that it finds (even though they're checked in).

Any ideas about what we may be missing here? Do I just have to check out every article before checking spelling? If so, I wish there were a way to "check out all stories" somehow.

Thanks for any thoughts you may have.

Keith Gilbert said...

Erik, glad to hear you're using InCopy. ID should identify all misspellings, regardless of whether or not you've checked the story out. Are you sure that the text that the spell checker is missing is not set to [no language]?

Yes, you do need to check out the stories before you can fix any misspellings. You can check out all stories and assignments at once by selecting all the stories and assignments at once in the Assignments panel, and then choosing "Check out" from the Assignments panel menu.

Give me a call if you continue to have trouble with this, and I'll see if I can help you further.

Unknown said...

Another month, another monthly newsletter, and another moment where I wondered about this spell check issue, which prompted me to come back to see if you'd replied. You did! A slightly time-shifted thank you for posting it.

Now, for an admission: Watching myself more carefully this time, I discovered that my problems revolve around "find/change" rather than spell check, and that find/change offers the option, until now unselected by me, to check locked stories.

Newbie mistake. I note it here for the benefit of others at the same level.

Oahu HaoleBoy said...

Wow. Big Mahalo for your kokua. I have been struggling with Adobe for a while looking for a solution to manage Hawaiian punctuated words in InDesign.

Now I just need to find/edit a script to:
Add Character Style "No Language"
Find/Change (List Hawaiian Words) with Change Format to "No Language"

This will save so much knucklehead redundancy time.

Awesome, awesome, awesome.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...


Is there a way to avoid spell check bringing up "uncapitalised sentence"? As a designer this drives me crackers, as I often return copy to fit around graphics / change the way the text works etc, and isn't 'uncapitalised sentence" NOT 'spelling' anyway? Any advice would be appreciated.


Keith Gilbert said...

@Anonymous: See Preferences: Spelling: Uncapitalized Sentences

sapphire said...

your tips are very helpful.
thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

This was really helpful. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This was EXTREMELY helpful - thank you!

Anonymous said...

8 years later, but a seriously big Thank You for the tip!
-Mr H