Available for beta testing: Non-English spell checking

edited June 24, 2021
The original Zotero extension (available from 2006–2017) was able to use any dictionary installed in Firefox, but the standalone version of Zotero has only ever shipped with a U.S. English dictionary. In the latest Zotero beta, it's now possible to easily install non-English spell-check dictionaries for use in the new note editor and PDF reader.

To install an additional dictionary, right-click on the note editor and go to Languages → "Add/Remove Dictionaries…". We're using dictionaries from Mozilla, which are used in Firefox and Thunderbird. We didn't include all available dictionaries (since there are 156 of them), but we've included the most popular dictionaries for all locales available in Zotero as well as several other currently unsupported locales. If there's a dictionary you'd like included, let us know.

(You can also install Firefox dictionaries manually by creating a 'dictionaries' subfolder in your Zotero profile directory (if one doesn't exist) and unzipping the XPI to a folder within that, with the folder named after the extension id from the XPI's manifest.json, and then restarting Zotero.)

Unlike Firefox and Thunderbird, we don't ship separate versions of Zotero for each locale, but in a future version, if someone is using a non-English locale, we plan to show a notification about the availability of other spell-check dictionaries. (Another option would be auto-downloading the dictionary for the current locale, but there's a potential privacy concern there.)

It's not currently possible to add words to a personal dictionary, but we hope to support that in a future version. We'll also add the context menu for controlling the language to annotation text fields.

Note that if you previously disabled spell-checking by changing the extensions.spellcheck.inline.max-misspellings setting, you'll need to reset that from the Config Editor in the Advanced pane of the preferences. We'll automatically reset that setting in an upcoming beta, once the new note editor is enabled by default.

Apologies in many languages for taking so long to support this!
  • I am unable to install any different language. During the process of installation, the new directory "cs@dictionaries.addons.mozilla.org" (for the Czech language) is created in the Zotero profile directory, with two empty subdirectories "META-INF" and "dictionaries".
    extensions.spellcheck.inline.max-misspellings is default - integer - 500
  • edited June 26, 2021
    Can you provide a Debug ID for trying to install a style?

    Do you get an error message?
  • The DebigID is D264102090

    Erro message is Unable to install “Čeština”:
  • Sorry about that — dictionary installation was broken on Windows. Should be fixed in the latest beta.
  • edited June 27, 2021
    Currently, I got an error message but on the second attempt, the dictionary is installed and works correctly.
  • If you haven't yet restarted Zotero, can you provide a Report ID?
  • I am not sure, if I restarted Zotero or not, sorry. Report ID is 2099085321
  • Thank you! That works fine for me and I installed a German dictionary now.

    Apart from the feature itself, I find the command "Check Spelling" in the context menu of the note editor not very intuitive. The first time I click on it, it de-actives the checking, the second time the entry in the menu looks exactly the same and it actives the checking and will also bring the "Languages" command in the context menu. Can these two changing states be named differently, e.g. "Activate spell checking" and "Deactivate spell checking"?

    Moreover, I am more used to have toggles for spell checking or changing the language for spell checking in some bar at the bottom. For example MS Word, LibreOffice Writer, or TexStudio. If this is also a possibility for you in Zotero, then I would appreciate if you try this way further out as well.
  • @zuphilip: This is just the UI from Firefox.
    The first time I click on it, it de-actives the checking
    Not sure how this is confusing. It's just a checked menu item, the same as others in Zotero or any other program. If you click on a checked menu item, it turns it off.

    All standard textboxes on macOS use a similar approach for spellchecking, with a checked menu item called "Checking Spelling While Typing" that's checked by default.

    I don't think this is confusing or nonstandard in any way.
  • Maybe I should see some check symbols like "✓" but I don't. This is what I see: https://imgur.com/a/mrQUuWI (Windows with Zotero 5.0.97-beta.35+a5902fc46)
  • @zuphilip Right, you should see a checkmark. We'll investigate what's the problem on Windows.
  • @zuphilip: Checkmarks on Windows fixed in the latest beta — thanks for letting us know.
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