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Entry no.: 1170

30 Oct 2010, 5:28 PM

Tags: , , ,

Comments: 13

Apple Get Romanian spell-checking in Mac OS X

A simple step-by-step guide

As you may know—all too well—Apple’s Mac OS X doesn’t offer native support for Romanian spell checking. Quite an embarrassment.

However, it is possible to install a Romanian spell-check dictionary (with diacritics and all)—in three fairly easy steps—available to all applications using system spell-checking services, like Mail, Pages, Keynote, Safari, iChat etc.1

Romanian Spellcheck in Apple Mac OS X / Corector ortografic pentru limba română în Apple Mac OS X, © Cristian -Kit- Paul, Bucharest, 2010.

Here is how to add system-wide Romanian spell-check dictionary to Mac OS X—a simple step-by-step guide.

Step 1. Install Aspell and cocoAspell

Aspell is a Free and Open Source spell checker, cocoAspell is a Mac OS X system services interface for Aspell.

Action: Go to cocoAspell homepage and download the installer—currently at version 2.1. The package will install Aspell and a Spelling preference panel to control cocoAspell.

Spelling System Preference / Corectorul ortografic apare în System Preferences, © Cristian -Kit- Paul, Bucharest, 2010.

Outcome: If all goes well a Spelling preference panel will appear in System Preferences.

Step 2. Install the Romanian dictionary

We have the engine, now we need a compatible Romanian spell-check dictionary—say hello to Aspell Romanian Dictionary Package.

Action: Open the Official Aspell Dictionaries FTP directory, scroll to "Română" and get aspell5-ro-3.3-2.tar.bz2. Expand it an move the resulting aspell5-ro-3.3-2 folder to ~/Library/Application Support/cocoAspell/.

If this sounds frightening, let me do it for you—just open a Terminal window and paste the following instructions one at a time:


curl -O

bunzip2 -t -d aspell5-ro-3.3-2.tar.bz2

tar -xf aspell5-ro-3.3-2.tar

mkdir ~/Library/Application\ Support/cocoAspell/

mv aspell5-ro-3.3-2 ~/Library/Application\ Support/cocoAspell/aspell5-ro-3.3-2

rm aspell5-ro-3.3-2.tar

Outcome: Opening the System Preferences → Spelling panel will require Aspell to compile the dictionary. You should get the following message:

Compiling Romanian dictionary dialog window / Corectorul ortografic pentru limba română se compilează, © Cristian -Kit- Paul, Bucharest, 2010.

And then:

Romanian Dictionary was compiled successfuly dialog window /  Corectorul ortografic pentru limba română s-a compilat, © Cristian -Kit- Paul, Bucharest, 2010.

Consequently, Romanian should appear in the Spelling panel's dictionaries list—and you need to enable it:

Enable Romanian dictionary in Spelling System Preference window /  Activeaza corectorul ortografic pentru limba română in System Preferences din OS X, © Cristian -Kit- Paul, Bucharest, 2010.

Step 3. Use the Romanian spell checker in applications

In order to use the newly installed dictionary, you need to select it in your spelling preferences.

Action: In you application of choice select from the menu bar: Edit → Spelling → Show Spelling and Grammar:

in Show Spelling and Grammar dialogue select Romanian language / În Show Spelling and Grammar selectează Română, © Cristian -Kit- Paul, Bucharest, 2010.

In Pages, select from the menu bar: View → Show inspector → Text → Language → Română:

Set Romanian Language in Pages text inspector / Setează limba română in Pages pentru a putea folosi corectorul ortografic, © Cristian -Kit- Paul, Bucharest, 2010.

Outcome: After selecting the Romanian dictionary, the spelling engine should switch to Romanian.

Final notes

  • If this works for you, donate to Anton Leuski via the PayPall Donate button on cocoAspell page2;
  • Please note that this tutorial is provided 'as is', and I'm not responsible should any data loss occur—a backup is always a good idea. If in doubt, consult maintainer's installation instructions, f.a.q. and troubleshooting pages;
  • Kudos to the Romanian team3.

1 The Romanian spell-check dictionary will not be available to applications using their own spell checking engines, like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Illustrator or InDesign etc.

2 I paid $10 via PayPall Donate.

3 Lucian Constantin (rospell), Alexandru Szasz (Mozilla and Romanian Translation Team), Ionut Paduraru (, Adrian Stoica ( Romanian Translation Team), Nicu Buculei ( Romanian Translation Team), Catalin Francu (DEX Online Team,, Ionel Mugurel Ciobica (previous aspell releases) and Mihai Budiu (ispell dictionary).


Reply no.: 1

31 Oct 2010, 11:09 PM


If you have Snow Leopard there is another way to install Romanian spelling support without Cocoaspell. Mac OS X 10.6 is able to use the OpenOffice spelling dictionaries. Details here.

Reply no.: 2

1 Nov 2010, 2:34 PM


Awesome, thx a lot for this tutorial and as you said, kudos to the team!

Reply no.: 3

1 Nov 2010, 3:32 PM


I'm glad you found it helpful, Dragos.

Reply no.: 4

14 Nov 2011, 6:32 PM

Florin Dacian:

thanks a lot !
Do you have any idea how to enable spellchecker in office 2011 for mac?

Reply no.: 5

29 Mar 2012, 9:10 PM


Thanks for this tutorial. I have the same question as Florin Dacian about a Romanian spell-check solution for Word 2011 for Mac? Thanks for your assistance.

Reply no.: 6

5 Feb 2013, 11:30 AM


For Pages 09 the above does not work. Only this:
Snow Leopard is compatible with the aff/dic open format dictionaries.

So, all you need to do is to get one dictionary, and place it inside ~/Library/Spelling (you may have to create the directory).

You can get the dictionary from OpenOffice, extract the file using The Unarchiver, and copy ro_RO.aff and ro_RO.dic in your Library.

You have to logout & login, and then go to System Preferences > Language & Text > Text > Spelling > Romana ...and boom! you have system-wide romanian spell checking :)

Reply no.: 7

7 Feb 2013, 12:27 PM


I can't find "Show Spelling and Grammar" window in ms word 2008 on my Mac. If someone know how to use this usefull tool in word, please let me know. Thanks.

Reply no.: 8

9 May 2013, 10:24 PM


Adrian, in Mountain Lion does not work any aff or dic file. Any compiling require?

Reply no.: 9

2 Nov 2013, 2:36 PM


it works also in Mountain Lion, follow these steps described over at StackExchange

Reply no.: 10

5 Jun 2014, 9:57 AM

Alexandru-Florin Platon:

I badly need a Romanian spell-checking, and I did all Mr. Cristian Kit Paul explained, but up to the the step 2 (moving the resulting aspell5-ro-3.3-2 folder to ~/Library/Application Support/cocoAspell/): I didn't find on my Mac Book Pro late 2013 (running with OS X 10.9.3) this folder. I couldn't locate it. I currently use Word for Mac (version 14.4.2 9140509).
I know it sounds silly , but can anyone help me with a piece of advice? Thank you!

Reply no.: 11

13 Mar 2015, 1:11 PM


Did as instructed but when clicking Spelling in System Preferences is get this error: Failed to compile “aspell6-en-6.0-0”
Any help?

Reply no.: 12

13 Mar 2015, 1:11 PM


Did as instructed but when clicking Spelling in System Preferences is get this error: Failed to compile “aspell6-en-6.0-0”
Any help?

Reply no.: 13

14 Feb 2016, 6:51 PM


I did it and works just fine! Bogdan: the message you get is because it can't install the english dictionary, but the romanian is installed just fine.

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