Ever ran into trouble because of some simple spelling mistakes you made when editing small bits of text, be it a notepad or an IM conversation? Too bad the these simple applications don’t have built in spell checking support. In fact, I often have to copy/paste the words to a web browser (like Google Chrome) or a Microsoft Word just to make sure that I got the spelling right.
A simple solution to this problem is TinySpell – a simple spell checking utility that integrates itself with Windows and monitors spelling in almost all the applications, including the text in the clipboard.
TinySpell is simple to use. It’s available as both a freeware and a paid version. While the paid version has slightly more features and a flexible price tag, the free version would do for the most of us. There is also a portable version available which you can download and run without the need of any installation.
Once you have the app running, you don’t really have to do anything else to get it working. Though there are configurable options available, the default settings are pretty good to get things going.
When you make a spelling mistake, a small notification shows up highlighting the word in question. You can hit the suggestions shortcut key ( CTRL + ; ) to bring up a list of suggestions, selecting one will automatically replace the incorrect word. You also hear a beep whenever you make a mistake, which is really handy when there is a spelling mistake in the text you copied to the clipboard.
An added perk is that you can get additional information like Web Search, Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia via online web services. The paid version also adds Translation to the list of available services.
Like most other spelling editors, you can add custom words to the dictionary so that the checker wont flag them as incorrect when you type them in. The process is pretty straight forward thanks to a simple interface.
Another neat feature of TinySpell is that you can make a blacklist/whitelist of applications to exclude, include from checking. This could be very helpful if you don’t want TinySpell to interfere with applications which have built in spell checking features.
The Settings panel lets you fine tune almost all aspects of the application. You can set it to start up automatically with Windows, enable/disable the beep sound or set a custom one, enable/disable correction of clipboard text, etc. You can also customize the Spelling Tip and select the color, font and duration of the pop up.
Another important feature you might want to configure is default hotkeys for different events. Although the defaults are set to unmapped by default, you might want to change them to something more memorable.
The only real issue I had with TinySpell is that you could only check for errors as you type. If you ignore a mistake and continue, the app wouldn’t notify you about the issue again. So, you can only correct the most recent spelling mistake. I hope future versions of this tool get the ability to check the entire document for errors like most word processors (maybe trigger it with a hotkey combination).
The application works great on Windows 7 and sits nicely in the system tray. It has a relatively small footprint taking only 1.5kB of memory. If you are using Microsoft Windows and are looking for a handy spell checking tool then be sure to try TinySpell on for size. I’m sure it would turn out to be a great fit.