Online Writing Tools: Online Spell Checkers

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Image by jazzmasterson via Flickr

Ah, the dreaded spell checker. If you’re still composing text in Word and then copy+pasting, I salute you – only because I think anyone who’s willing to put up with the nasty mess that Word makes out of documents deserves a medal. (Here’s a hint: get OpenOffice, whose praises I will extol some time in the future.)

I’m a person who one-stop-shops: I compose, write, edit, and publish all from my online editors. The problem with online editors is that some still do not have functioning spell-checks, and some spell-check capabilities are limited to certain browsers, leaving the rest of us in the dark. My rule of thumb is to always have a backup spell-checker, and the internet has one handier, and less messy, than loading word processing software. Here are a few top picks:

Spellchecker.net

Spellchecker’s URL is easy to remember if you prefer typing in an address instead of visiting a bookmarked site. It pops up the results in a new window, highlighting the misspelled words in bold, and functions like many word processor spell checks with change, change to, ignore, ignore all, add, and options available.

In a moderate length test document, it took about 15 seconds to load initially and seemed relatively slow as I clicked through the document. I planted a few extra spelling errors in this document, which it caught, but it also suggested I replace 10th with 1st, did not recognize the foreign word Ragnarok or the words monetize (both of which Firefox’s built in spell-check recognizes, for reference).

On the bonus side, it also has a built in grammar check and thesaurus check.

Grade: B

Orangoo

What a strange name for a spell checker, but its my default spell checker. You can either paste the text of your document in or – if it’s already live on a website – enter in the URL and get the results emailed to you. Cool, huh?

Orangoo only took 3 seconds on my test document. It highlights all words in red that it thinks are misspelled, and caught all the planted errors in the document with proper suggestions for each. Unlike Spellchecker, it did recognize monetize and Ragnarok, and even several abbreviations in the game industry that SpellChecker flagged.

Grade: A

JSpell

Copy and paste your text into this checker, and you will get a pop-up. Unlike other spell checkers, however, you have no idea where you are in the document (the context is not highlighted in the pop-up, and only sometimes in the document which does not scroll along with the checker), so you’re editing blind.  JSpell did not catch all the errors found, also did not recognize Ragnarok or monetize, and even suggested that “for” was not found and I should replace it with “For,” simply because it appeared after a period (in context, “as well as Jason V. for setting it up”).

The only bonus I see with JSpell is that it has a medical spell-checker. However, with a quick test of this page I can confirm that at the least, it does not recognize common prescription brand names, so I’m not sure I’d count on that either.

Grade: D

SpellJax

The SpellJax checker functions very similar to Orangoo – bad words are highlighted in red, and clicking on them pops up a selection of recommendations. Like Orangoo, it recognized monetize and Ragnarok – but it missed two planted spelling errors. Quick, but again not fully reliable.

Grade: C

My recommendation clearly goes to Orangoo for being fast, reliable, and having the extra bonus of spell checking an existing website. If you don’t like Orangoo, my second recommendation would be Spellchecker, which was the next most reliable and had some extra tools worth checking out, if you have the patience for a slow spell check.

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4 Responses to Online Writing Tools: Online Spell Checkers

  1. Another page in the book of all your helpful information I have no idea what I would do if I hadn’t met you and was shown all these great places. Keep them coming 😀

  2. Andrea says:

    I could never live without a spell checker! Thank you for this informative article!

  3. Sara Broers says:

    Thanks for the tips~ you know so many ins and outs! That’s why you are such a seasoned writer!

  4. Orangoo?? Hmmm, this is a strange name but sounds like it works well. I am really interested in hearing more about Open Office… I didn’t know there was another option besides Word, lol. School me, oh-wise-one!

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