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Review Update - Another Plus for Notepad++

by Alan German

When I wrote about Notepad++ ( as an alternative to Windows' Notepad, I noted that one drawback of the latter was the lack of a spell checker. However, what I failed to mention was that, although Notepad++ has an icon for spell checking, and an associated menu item under Plugins, you have to install the spell checking add-on in order to make this function work.

In fact, when you click on spell check, a pop-up dialogue box indicates that "GNU Aspell and/or dictionaries are missing", with a note that the files can be downloaded from This link takes you to a web page that has both the main GNU Aspell program and a variety of dictionaries in different languages.

Getting the spell checker to run is simply a matter of downloading the program installer and one of the dictionaries (e.g. English), both of which are executable files, and then running the main setup file followed by the dictionary file. Now, when you click on spell check in Notepad++, a dialogue box will open up showing any misspelled words in your document, or indicating that the spell check has successfully completed.

One minor issue I have with Aspell is that it creates a TmpInstall directory under the directory that holds the installation files, and doesn't clean this up once the installation has completed. No big deal in these days of huge hard drives, but an untidy outcome for what should be a straightforward process.

Bottom Line:

Notepad++ (Open source)
Version 5.0.3
Don Ho

GNU Aspell for Windows (Open Source)
Version 0.50.3
Kevin Atkinson and Thorsten Maerz

Originally published: December, 2008

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