Installing missing dictionaries in OpenOffice.org

In my experience, not all three basic dictionaries–spelling-checker, hyphenation, and thesaurus–are installed or fully working by default with OpenOffice.org (OOo). It just is disappointing when after finishing a long document written in English, you try to spell-check it only to find out that no spell-checker is installed, in particular for a language pre-selected (in my case it’s ‘English (Philippines)’. It’s as disappointing as well to find out that hyphenation does not work.

The solution is to install the three basic dictionaries for certain languages: Spell-checker, thesaurus and hyphenation. Assuming that you’re connected to the Internet, you’ve already installed OpenOffice.org and myspell, and your dictionaries do not work or are working only partially, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure that all open OOo documents are closed.
  2. Open a terminal (Konsole, Gnome Terminal, or xterm).
  3. Go to the myspell dictionaries folder: cd /usr/share/myspell/dicts/.
  4. Locate the file DicOOo.sxw: ls DicOOo*. If it does not exist, download the installer file here. The file should be moved to the /usr/share/myspell/dicts/ folder (sudo mv /path/of/installer/file /usr/share/myspell/dicts/). Alternatively, assuming that your present working directory is /usr/share/myspell/dicts, you may download the file using wget command: sudo wget http://ftp.services.openoffice.org/pub/OpenOffice.org/contrib/dictionaries/dicooo/DicOOo.sxw.
  5. Run the installer file: sudo oowriter DicOOo.sxw.
  6. A security warning may pop up, telling you that the document contains macros. Just click on the ‘Enable Macros’ button.
  7. The installer file is now open. Click on the language you want, say, English.
  8. Click on the “Start DicOOo” button.
  9. With welcome dialog box open, just click on the “Next>>” button.
  10. You are now in the “Spelling-Checker” dialog box.
  11. Retrieve the list of languages by clicking the appropriate button at the top of the dialog box.
  12. While the retrieval is going on, you may be prompted to upgrade the version of your DicOOo.sxw file. Accept the proposed upgrade action. Then you may receive an irrevocable error message. Ignore it by clicking on the OK button.
  13. The list of languages for a particular dictionary type is being retrieved. Wait until it is finished. Then choose one or more languages you like. Just use the “Ctrl” key in combination with the pointer’s click if you choose more than one language. Then click on the “Next>>” button.
  14. Repeat steps 11 and 13 for Hyphenation and Thesaurus dialog boxes.
  15. A dialog box appears telling you that the chosen dictionaries will be downloaded and installed. Just click on the “Next>>” button. Then wait until the download and install are finished. Then click on the “Finish” button to conclude the installation.
  16. Then close the installer file.

You are now ready for the three basic dictionaries. Happy writing.

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One comment

  1. Thank you very much for these instructions. You would have thought that they would be in the OOo help, but no such luck. Google to the rescue.

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