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Date Posted:11/11/2012 2:23 AMCopy HTML

I have been using Scribus desktop publishing for a while to do my church bulletins, and have found it to be quite useful even if it is somewhat slow compared to Adobe Pagemaker, etc. The cost of commercial desktop publishing software is the main reason I use this free program, even if it does have an occasional bug in it. Scribus will do almost any text or image frame operation that you can think of, and though it does work quite differently from a word processor, I haven't really had all that steep of a learning curve using it. There is one thing that I have found bothersome though, and this is the apparent lack of a spell checking plugin. None in any of the program's menus, and I also looked through its preferences to see if I could find it there. Nope.

I started digging around online and found that while Scribus has a provision for spell check capability, it is dependent on an external program and the extent of interoperability between the two is that the external program can scan and correct spelling errors in Scribus files but is not accessible from within Scribus due to the current lack of a coding framework to make it work that way. There are two spell checkers that work with Scribus files: aspell and hunspell. You must install one or the other and a dictionary in your language, and then you can spell check Scribus documents from a command line interface. I have both but have so far used only aspell, so my instructions are for this program only.

At the command prompt (for an English spell check), enter the following command with all options listed:

aspell --lang=en --encoding=utf-8 --mode=sgml --add-sgml-spell-check=ch document_filename.sla

Aspell can also be opened with aspell -c /dir/subdir/filename.sla but it will spell check the document metadata and formatting codes too and this is obviously not what you want...

When aspell opens using the first command it will show you something like this in the terminal:


Words highlighted in black are possible misspellings. Entering an option at the "?" at the bottom will change or ignore the word or words as you select. On making a selection the next misspelled word will come up in black highlight. Go through the entire document and let aspell exit normally or your changes will NOT be saved. If you correct everything in your doc with aspell and it exits normally, opening the document in Scribus will show all the corrected words, with all existing formatting preserved.

Although this is a "long way to hell and back" way of spell checking a Scribus document, at least it does work. At some point in the future Scribus should have true spell checking accessible from inside the program, but we will have to wait for someone to code it.


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