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Spell Catcher X for Mac

By Rainmaker ResearchTrial versionUser Rating

Key Details of Spell Catcher X

  • Check word spelling and learn its meanings.
  • Last updated on 12/13/2011

Editors' Review

Download.com staff

Spell Catcher is the modern-day descendant of a spell-checking app from ancient times (as a Desk Accessory called Thunder, from 1985), now with powerful, system-wide spell-checking and text-expanding features.

By default, this muscular app tracks every word you type on your Mac, across every application, and provides you with much more than the live visual feedback you get in separate apps with built-in spell-checking. Spell Catcher can give you automatic typo fixing, spoken alerts (for example, pointing out repeated words, or curious spellings with a quick "Curious!"), instant access to the dictionary and thesaurus (with support for multiple dictionaries and online sources), and serious text-expansion capabilities that let you set up an extensive "shorthand glossary" for frequently used words, phrases, or even multipage documents. Spell Catcher also includes a "Ghostwriter" feature, which can be a life-saver in the event of a crashed app or lost doc: it records all your keystrokes and saves those to a text file, which you can recover later.

For the most part, Spell Catcher runs invisibly in the background, but you can invoke its features directly through the app, using keyboard shortcuts, or through the Dock, Input, or Services menus. The initial setup for Spell Catcher can be time-consuming, getting its settings to match your preferred work flow and habits, but this app has excellent documentation, active forums, and a responsive developer. Note: now that Spell Catcher has been fully updated for Snow Leopard, version 10.3.4 is the last to support Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger).

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Full Specifications



  • New Cancel Last Expansion command in Spell Catcher’s Input menu. This will delete any text entered since the most recent shorthand expansion or completion. In most applications, this is generally equivalent to choosing Edit > Undo. There are some applications, however, where the Undo command may work differently—undoing more than you might want. The Cancel Last Expansion command is useful in such applications, particularly when you type an abbreviation that you didn’t mean to.
  • New Special Key for use in shorthand expansions to explicitly specify the final position of the insertion point (Insert pop-up > Special Key > Position Cursor Here).
  • Ability to show and sort by Date Modified in Shorthand Glossary document windows. Control-click the table column header to see a shortcut menu to set the visibility of the columns. It’s now possible to hide the Expansion column, as the Expansion is always visible in the text area on the right side of the window.

New for Mac OS X 10.7.x (Lion)

  • Spell Catcher’s input method application (64-bit capable) makes use of new-in-Lion input method functionality. The most noticeable will be improved performance of DirectCorrect in many applications.
  • The Spell Catcher application now “opts-out” of Lion’s “Reopen windows when logging back in” feature. This means that the Spell Catcher application will only open (at login) when required by its input method, or by the Mac OS X system-wide spelling checker.
  • The Spell Catcher application now supports Lion’s suspend/resume functionality for the Preferences, Find in References, Check Word, and Edit Macro windows.


  • Improvements to Spell Catcher > Get Updates and Languages window, adding a pane to display a full, styled text description of the selected update.


  • Many internal code changes, primarily to support Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) features and capabilities.
  • Minor performance improvements throughout.
  • Built with Xcode 4.2.1 on Mac OS X 10.7.x (Lion).


  • Properly expand shorthands that include “Special Keys” when using the input methods Completion feature.
  • Properly update the Spell Catcher application’s Dock icon on Lion.
  • Fixes to long-standing problems extracting the correct name, license code, and e-mail address from text dropped or pasted to the License Manager window.
  • Fixes to naming of Ghostwriter files and folders (input method application).
  • Worked around bugs in Mac OS X’s Folder Manager that could prevent Scripting Additions from working in the Spell Catcher application.
  • Numerous other far more obscure issues.
December 13, 2011
Latest update
December 13, 2011
Operating System
Mac OS X 10.6, Mac OS X, Mac OS X 10.7, Mac OS X 10.5
Additional Requirements
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Developer's Description

Check word spelling and learn its meanings.

Spell Catcher X is the powerful writing tool preferred by educators, students, writers, bloggers - anyone who writes on their Macintosh. It's the all-in-one writing solution for those who need standardized custom dictionaries for use in all their applications, those that write in multiple languages, and anyone that simply wants to be a faster, more effective writer. Use it in Mac OS X applications such as email, web browsers, instant messaging, Microsoft Word and other word processors, graphics programs such as Adobe Photoshop, video and movie programs, databases, and spreadsheets.