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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Google Chrome and the Opera browser can now use the preferred Australian English spelling on Apple Mac OS X computers.

For some time I've provided an Australian Dictionary for Apple's OS X users on the page Unlike the Australian dictionary included with Apple's OS X, the dictionary I've created only includes the preferred spelling and not the many secondary spelling variations. The preferred spelling is the spelling most people consider to be correct for a word, whereas the majority of people would consider the alternate or secondary spelling variation to be incorrect.

Recently however I stumbled across something rather interesting. Most of the time I use Safari and have installed my own dictionary files so I can use the preferred spelling. I also have Opera installed as a second browser for testing purposes. For some reason I decided to check the dictionary being used. Quite to my surprise I found Opera appeared to be using my dictionary. A quick test and yes Opera was indeed using my dictionary. On Windows the Opera browser would use the American or British dictionary. When Opera said they were going to use my open source work I asked what they were going to do in return. As a result they chose not to use my dictionary. I appreciated that because unlike Firefox and Google Chrome that just used my work and gave nothing in return, at least Opera chose not to use my work and to me I was good with that.

I then started thinking, I wonder which dictionary Google Chrome uses. I downloaded and installed Google Chrome. Again to my surprise Google Chrome under OS X doesn't use dictionaries it provides, but uses the dictionaries made available through Apple's operating system. Since my dictionary is defined as the default native dictionary under OS X, that meant Google Chrome was also using my dictionary. That makes me very happy. All users of Google Chrome need to do is to obtain the preferred Australian English spelling dictionary from myself, make it the default, and then Chrome users under OS X can take advantage of my work.

My dictionary work under OS X is still a work in progress, but having said that, it covers an estimated 98% of words most people use. I can be a bit of a perfectionist, so when I feel the time is right I'll release my work as production ready.

Apple Mac users now have three browsers they can select from that can use the preferred Australian English spelling. I've been a long time supporter of Microsoft Windows, but this is one area where Apple from my perspective is better. Microsoft does not provide the ability to use your own dictionary and my current approach under Windows whilst very good, still relies on identifying errors or issues and then providing files to correct those issues.

Personally I find Apple's Safari browser to be suitable for most of my browsing needs whilst using the Apple MacBook Air, so I don't need to use Google Chrome or Opera much at this point in time. However never say never, because you never know when a feature of one of the other browsers becomes exceptionally useful.

If you'd like to use the preferred Australian English spelling then feel free to visit my page ( and check out my work for Apple Macs.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling dictionary.

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