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Quickest Spell Check

I love the Dynamic Spelling feature in CS2 – it flags words in the layout that aren’t in its dictionary, a la Microsoft Word – but it can be distracting when you’re designing the layout itself. I get tired of going to the Edit > Spelling menu all the time to toggle Dynamic Spelling on and off. You too?

Give it a keyboard shortcut. Go to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts and in the Product Area section, choose Edit Menu > Spelling: Dynamic Spellcheck. I assigned control-S (on my Mac) to the command.

You can leave the checkbox for Enable Dynamic Spelling unchecked in Preferences, that just sets its initial on/off state. So by default, as you work on a layout, Dynamic Spelling won’t be active. But if you quickly want to check to make sure a word is spelled correctly, press your Dynamic Spelling keyboard shortcut to turn it on. If the word is misspelled, it’ll get that wavy red line under it, and you can right-click on it to choose the correct spelling from the list of suggestions or add it to your Dictionary. If the word is spelled correctly, nothing happens – no wavy line.

Press the keyboard shortcut again to toggle Dynamic Spelling off and go on your way.

Anne-Marie Concepcion

Anne-Marie Concepcion

Anne-Marie “Her Geekness” Concepción is the co-founder (with David Blatner) and CEO of Creative Publishing Network, which produces InDesignSecrets, InDesign Magazine, and other resources for creative professionals. Through her cross-media design studio, Seneca Design & Training, Anne-Marie develops ebooks and trains and consults with companies who want to master the tools and workflows of digital publishing. She has authored over 20 courses on on these topics and others. Keep up with Anne-Marie by subscribing to her ezine, HerGeekness Gazette, and contact her by email at or on Twitter @amarie
Anne-Marie Concepcion

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33 Comments on “Quickest Spell Check

  1. Hi there, thanks for the tip helps alot. I was curious if there is a function like this in illustrator cs2 as well, or any plugins i can download? My spelling is horrible!!


  2. My CS2 dynamic spelling doesn’t appear to work, even though it’s on. I have had multiple spelling errors not flagged and aren’t found until a dummy print. What’s wrong?

  3. That’s strange, tsmitty. Try this … select one of the words that should be flagged as misspelled but isn’t, then look to see what language dictionary it’s associated with (in the Control panel or in the Character panel). I’m guessing it might be set to “No Language” instead of U.S. English or whatever language it should be. (“No Language” tells InDesign not to spellcheck text associated with it.)

  4. Is there a way to get spellcheck to ignore superscript letters? As in:

    “In all athe world . . .”
    (Imagine the ‘a’ as superscript.)

    Spellcheck, of course, has no imagination, and flags ‘athe’ as misspelled.

    I have a very large document with thousands of these superscript footnote references. There’s no practical way I can ‘ignore’ all of the words with a reference letter, to search for words that are actually misspelled.

  5. That’s a pretty quick fix. Set up a Find/Change to search for all superscripts, and apply No Language. Then the spell checker will ignore them.

  6. Thank you Mike Rankin!

    (I had already set all the superscripts with their own character style, so all I had to do was edit the style.)

  7. Is there a way to get hyphenation to ignore superscript letters?

    InDesign won’t break these words in the right place, so I’m having to put a discretionary hyphen in every time.

    Any help would be appreciated!

  8. Hi,

    Can anyone suggest?

    I want to publish a book in Hindi language. Is there any third party Tool or Plugin available to help typeset and spellcheck in Hindi language with InDesign? I am using Mangal Font for my Typography.

    Thanx in advance..


  9. Try the following InDesign Plug-ins

    IndicPlus – Helps type in any Indian Language with Unicode fonts

    SpellPlus – Spell Checker for various Indian Languages

    by MetaDesign Solutions

    ~ Amit

  10. Hi, is there any way to turn off the grammar check while spell checking. I have a large document in which I have chosen to not capitalize anything, it is annoying to have to skip every other word, I just want to check for spelling errors alone! Any thoughts? Thanks!

  11. Hello Guys,

    Has anyone used SpellPlus from MetaDesign Solutions, they have mentioned that they support SpellCheck and Hyphenation for Indian Languages.

    I have used their product IndicPus for Typing Support in Indian Languages, I have had a great experience with it so far.

    It would be great if someone can share his or her experience before I spend money.


  12. Is there a way to check spelling on document pages without checking the spelling of master pages? We have templates that have Latin dummy text as placeholders, and every time I check spelling, it hits every word…

  13. Shaun, open the templates, select the latin dummy text, and apply the No Language language to it (from the Character panel). Essentially it means “ignore me when spell checking”.

  14. Hello, wondering if ligatures affect spell check at all. In CS4 the ID spellcheck seems to highlight words that don’t seem to be misspelled, I am wondering if it is because there is a ligature. It is usually with fi.



  15. Janis I’m not seeing that in my copy of CS4. It’s not flagging words with ligatures as being misspelled, including the fi ligature.

    Select the text and check the language it’s set to (Control panel or Character panel). It may think the text is in Spanish or something.

  16. Hello Guys,
    I have used IndiPlus Plugin by Metadesign Solutions for Indesign. It works great with Indian languages.

  17. I can’t find “grammar” check in CS4. Does dynamic spellcheck replace it in CS4? I had it visible in CS2. Any help appreciated.

  18. I would like to have British spelling check in my In-Design default setup in menu but its keep on coming back to US spelling check. How do i change any help please advise. Thanks

  19. @Prakash: Sounds like you need to change your underlying default paragraph style. I always suggest making a new paragraph style (while no doc is open), clicking on it (while no doc is open), and then that becomes the default style for all new docs. One of the options in the para style definition is the language.

  20. Does Dynamic Spelling (DS) only work while you’re in “normal” mode in CS5? If so, was it this way with CS4 also? I almost always work in “preview” mode and would find it helpful if DS would show up here. If there’s a way to make it show up in preview mode in CS5, could someone please let me in on the secret??


  21. Generally I do not read post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do so! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thank you, very great article.

  22. Hello All,

    Is there any script/option available to retain the spelling error marks in the PDFs which are exported from InDesign?

    G. Raja

  23. Hi,

    Does anyone know how to turn off the ‘uncapitalized’ part of the spellcheck? I don’t want to know that the first line of hundreds of lists are not capitalized. Thank you!


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