How to Edit the Mac Dictionary

Dec 15, 2022 - Leave a Comment

How to edit local dictionary file on Mac

You likely know already that the Mac has a built-in dictionary, accessible from the Dictionary app, but also through keyboard shortcut, Spotlight, and three finger tap. But did you know you can also edit the dictionary on the Mac to add or remove your own words to a user dictionary? This is useful if you want to stop spellcheck and autocorrect flagging words.

If you’re a longtime reader, you may recall that you can add words to spellcheck on the Mac, but if you don’t want to use the contextual menu method, or you have multiple words you wish to add or remove from your dictionary, you can also just directly edit the user dictionary file to add them yourself.

How to Edit the Dictionary on Mac

You can directly edit the user dictionary file on MacOS by doing the following:

  1. Open the Finder on the Mac if you have not done so already
  2. Hit Command+Shift+G to open the Go To Folder window and enter the following path:
  3. ~/Library/Spelling/LocalDictionary

  4. Open the LocalDictionary file in your text editor of choice, whether that is TextEdit, nano, BBEdit, or otherwise
  5. Type the word(s) you wish to add to the user dictionary, with each new word on a separate line
  6. Save LocalDictionary

You may need to quit and relaunch some apps to have them identify the change to the dictionary.

This is a helpful for many obvious reasons, but may be particularly useful if you use words from other languages as well as your own, and you find that autocorrect continuously changes the word or flags it as an error.

You may notice the LocalDictionary file has other words in it that you added through the “Learn Spelling” trick. If the file is blank that simply means you’ve never added any custom words to your user dictionary file.


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Posted by: Jamie Cuevas in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks

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