Spell check problems

The new inline spell check which is available in the nightly builds of Mozilla Thunderbird is really nice but it seems to miss some important features.

Multi language support
I write some of my emails in Danish and some of them in English. But the spell checker seems only to be able to spell check in one language. It should be able to check the words using both the Danish and English dictionary. Relevant bugs 69687 and 234143

Support for dictionaries in profile
When I install a dictionary it installs the files into my Thunderbird directory and not into my profile directory. That's not very good.

Support for OpenOffice.org dictionaries files
I have already installed the dictionaries I need in OpenOffice.org. And since Thunderbird uses the same files as the OpenOffice.org ones I find it very weird that it's not possible to Mozilla Thunderbird to use those files. The location of the OpenOffice.org dictionaries could, on Windows, be detected via the Windows registry. According to this page the only difference between the dictionary files used in Thunderbird and OpenOffice.org is and "_" is replaced by "-". Why did the Thunderbird developers use "-" instead of "_" ?

Dictionary installation
The dictionary installation in OpenOffice.org is really nice. You just use a macro and it's click click click and you're done. In Mozilla Thunderbird you have to save an XPI file to you local drive and use the Extension Manager to install the package and when you do it doesn't even get listed in the Extension Manager because it doesn't contain a install.rdf script but only a install.js script.

The GUI in all of the screen shots below isn't very good. It's one of those areas where GUI experts haven't been asked. One feature I'd like to see in the Thunderbird spell check is the context viewing like in Word, where you can see the sentence you're checking.

Screen shots
Microsoft Word 2003:
Spell checking in Microsoft Word 2003

OpenOffice.org 2.0:
Spell checking in OpenOffice.org 2.0

Mozilla Thunderbird 20050315:
Spell checking in Mozilla Thunderbird

March 16, 2005 07:19 PM | Posted in Mozilla

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Firefox should have a default spell check for forms too.

Comment by ! at March 16, 2005 07:44 PM | Permalink

I think the installation procedure is really one of the major annoyances of thunderbird in general and keeps many users from effectively using or trying out extensions. IMO there should be an easy way to install extension through firefox, so that when you click to install an extension link, it should be automatically passed to the right application (thunderbird in this case).

Comment by daniel at March 16, 2005 11:35 PM | Permalink

A much better option for the GUI would be to model it after Firefox's find bar. Both cases deal with searching though a document (either for a particular word or for misspelled words), and so it makes sense for them to work in similar ways.

Site icon Comment by Tom Saddington at March 17, 2005 08:37 AM | Permalink

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