This section describes the commands to check the spelling of a single word or of a portion of a buffer. These commands only work if the spelling checker program Aspell, Ispell or Hunspell is installed. These programs are not part of Emacs, but one of them is usually installed in GNU/Linux and other free operating systems. See Aspell in The Aspell Manual.
Check and correct spelling of the word at point (
If the region is active, do it for all words in the region instead.
Check and correct spelling of all words in the buffer. If the region is active, do it for all words in the region instead.
Check and correct spelling in the buffer.
Check and correct spelling in the region.
Check and correct spelling in a draft mail message, excluding cited material.
Restart the Aspell/Ispell/Hunspell process, using dict as the dictionary.
Kill the Aspell/Ispell/Hunspell subprocess.
Complete the word before point based on the spelling dictionary
Enable Flyspell mode, which highlights all misspelled words.
Enable Flyspell mode for comments and strings only.
To check the spelling of the word around or before point, and
optionally correct it as well, type M-$ (
If a region is active, M-$ checks the spelling of all words
within the region. See Mark. (When Transient Mark mode is off,
M-$ always acts on the word around or before point, ignoring the
region; see Disabled Transient Mark.)
Similarly, the command M-x ispell performs spell-checking in the region if one is active, or in the entire buffer otherwise. The commands M-x ispell-buffer and M-x ispell-region explicitly perform spell-checking on the entire buffer or the region respectively. To check spelling in an email message you are writing, use M-x ispell-message; that command checks the whole buffer, except for material that is indented or appears to be cited from other messages. See Sending Mail.
When one of these commands encounters what appears to be an incorrect word, it asks you what to do. It usually displays a list of numbered “near-misses”—words that are close to the incorrect word. Then you must type a single-character response. Here are the valid responses:
Replace the word, just this time, with one of the displayed near-misses. Each near-miss is listed with a digit; type that digit to select it.
Skip this word—continue to consider it incorrect, but don’t change it here.
Replace the word, just this time, with new. (The replacement string will be rescanned for more spelling errors.)
Replace the word with new, and do a
query-replace so you
can replace it elsewhere in the buffer if you wish. (The replacements
will be rescanned for more spelling errors.)
Accept the incorrect word—treat it as correct, but only in this editing session.
Accept the incorrect word—treat it as correct, but only in this editing session and for this buffer.
Insert this word in your private dictionary file so that Aspell or Ispell or Hunspell will consider it correct from now on, even in future sessions.
Like i, but you can also specify dictionary completion information.
Insert the lower-case version of this word in your private dictionary file.
Look in the dictionary for words that match word. These words become the new list of “near-misses”; you can select one of them as the replacement by typing a digit. You can use ‘*’ in word as a wildcard.
Quit interactive spell checking, leaving point at the word that was being checked. You can restart checking again afterward with C-u M-$.
Quit interactive spell checking and move point back to where it was when you started spell checking.
Quit interactive spell checking and kill the spell-checker subprocess.
Show the list of options.
In Text mode and related modes, M-TAB
ispell-complete-word) performs in-buffer completion based on
spelling correction. Insert the beginning of a word, and then type
M-TAB; this shows a list of completions. (If your
window manager intercepts M-TAB, type ESC
TAB or C-M-i.) Each completion is listed with a digit or
character; type that digit or character to choose it.
Once started, the Aspell or Ispell or Hunspell subprocess continues to run, waiting for something to do, so that subsequent spell checking commands complete more quickly. If you want to get rid of the process, use M-x ispell-kill-ispell. This is not usually necessary, since the process uses no processor time except when you do spelling correction.
Ispell, Aspell and Hunspell look up spelling in two dictionaries:
the standard dictionary and your personal dictionary. The standard
dictionary is specified by the variable
or, if that is
nil, by the variable
If both are
nil, the spelling program’s default dictionary is
used. The command M-x ispell-change-dictionary sets the
standard dictionary for the buffer and then restarts the subprocess,
so that it will use a different standard dictionary. Your personal
dictionary is specified by the variable
ispell-personal-dictionary. If that is
spelling program looks for a personal dictionary in a default
A separate dictionary is used for word completion. The variable
ispell-complete-word-dict specifies the file name of this
dictionary. The completion dictionary must be different because it
cannot use root and affix information. For some languages, there
is a spell checking dictionary but no word completion dictionary.
Flyspell mode is a minor mode that performs automatic spell checking
as you type. When it finds a word that it does not recognize, it
highlights that word. Type M-x flyspell-mode to toggle Flyspell
mode in the current buffer. To enable Flyspell mode in all text mode
When Flyspell mode highlights a word as misspelled, you can click on it with Mouse-2 to display a menu of possible corrections and actions. You can also correct the word by editing it manually in any way you like.
Flyspell Prog mode works just like ordinary Flyspell mode, except
that it only checks words in comments and string constants. This
feature is useful for editing programs. Type M-x
flyspell-prog-mode to enable or disable this mode in the current
buffer. To enable this mode in all programming mode buffers, add
prog-mode-hook (see Hooks).