Thursday, 20 January 2011

My Word

If you're a Brit using Open Office, you might be forgiven for wondering why your dictionary and thesaurus defaults to English US.

Open Office installs with the US dictionary as the default language, if you want the UK version, you'll have to download and install it for yourself. I didn't find this as intuitive as I would have liked: mostly because Open Office uses ambiguous titles for its extensions making it difficult to locate them online. However, I recently did some digging and I have managed to find the correct download and now I have a working (and workable) UK dictionary and thesaurus.

The file that you want is the English spelling and hyphenation dictionaries and thesaurus: don't bother searching, it's a nightmare to find! You can download it from here (the file is actually called dict-en.oxt, but, for some obscure reason, the title on the Open Office website is English dictionaries with fixed dash handling and new ligature and phonetic suggestion support).

If you're using Open Office 3:
  1. Download the file from the link above and save it to your hard drive
  2. Open the Extension Manager (from the Tools Menu) and click Add...
  3. Navigate to your download from the dialog box and click Open to install your dictionary
Now you can change your default language to English UK:
  1. From the Tools Menu, click Options...
  2. Under Language Settings, select Languages and set the Default languages for documents option to English UK in the Western dropdown menu
  3. Under Writing Aids, make sure that the Spellchecker, Hyphenator, and New Thesaurus check boxes are all ticked
  4. Restart Open Office
Now you should be able to spell check documents in the Queen's English and use the thesaurus by highlighting a word and hitting ctr+F7 on your keyboard.

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