Getting it Right – Does WordPress Have Spell Check?

If you are writing a post in WordPress you naturally want it to appear to be as professional as possible when it’s published. It is therefore not surprising that a common question from new bloggers is does WordPress have spell check?

The answer is that it doesn’t have a built in spell checking tool by default. This may seem like a large oversight but there are, fortunately, many options to make sure your WordPress pages are using correct spellings.

It can be very embarrassing and unprofessional to make mistakes on your website or blog posts. Fortunately, spelling mistakes can be avoided by using the correct tools. We have made mistakes in the past and probably will in the future too! We can empathise with this situation, and we have created this post to help.


Made mistakes already? learn how to unpublish a page while you fix the mistakes.

There are a number of options to fix the “does WordPress have spell check” issue. We take a look at some of the best solutions available for WordPress right now.

Browser Based Spell Checkers

Your browser might already contain a spell checker which may need to be activated or require a download of the dictionary for your language. When this is installed, the spell checker will work in almost any text area found on websites. While this may be enough for some people, there are a few better options which provide more features to make sure your mistakes are kept to a minimum.

Grammarly

Grammarly

Grammarly is a very popular choice for reducing grammatical and spelling errors. Their artificial intelligence program checks your work as you write, offering better alternatives as you go.

Grammarly is available as an extension for all major browsers. Go to the extension store from your browser’s menu and search for Grammarly and install. You can sign up as a member for free, or pay for their premium service for the identification of additional grammar errors. The basic free service is probably enough for most users and features:

  • Personal dictionary
  • Grammar explanations
  • Picks up contextual errors
  • Allows you to view your documents on different devices

When installed you will see the green Grammarly logo on your toolbar. You can click this to toggle spell checking as well as synonyms and definitions, on or off. You can also alter the version of English you use and go to your Grammarly account.

The next time you go to post on your WordPress site you will find that spelling mistakes and grammar errors are given a red underline. You can correct them as you go along by clicking on them. It will give you the correct spelling or a few alternatives and you just click the correct one to change it.

There will be a red dot in the corner with a number if there are mistakes, in addition to the red underlines. If you click on this red dot a popup window is displayed that shows you all your errors at once, you may find this easier than going through them one by one. A green dot indicates no errors found.

Every week Grammarly will send you their Insights email. This weekly writing update shows you how productive you are being, how many unique words you’ve used and how accurate you are. It also shows you how you compare to other users and how many words have been checked since you joined. This is a nice feature which shows you how you are improving your writing skills over time.

The Plugin Options

As you might imagine, when it comes to the question, does WordPress have spell check? This has been thought about and addressed by plugin developers a number of times. This has resulted in a few options if you want to use a plugin to solve the lack of spell checking in WordPress.

Jetpack

Jetpack

The Jetpack plugin was created by the same people behind WordPress itself. It is primarily designed to give your site better security, it prevents brute force attacks on your login as well as providing automatic backups and malware scans amongst other security measures.

It also makes your site faster by offloading images and video from your servers to their CDN (content delivery network). Additionally, there are some tools included to give you more control over your site’s customisation.

But wait a minute, while this is great, what’s this got to do with spell checking? Don’t worry, they do have a spell checker too, it’s hidden away in their menus and isn’t on by default.

Once you have downloaded the plugin and activated it, go to the Writing section in Settings and turn on the spell checker. It will also check your grammar and style errors. Since these features aren’t the main focus of the plugin they aren’t as good as they could be, but they do have some useful features:

  • Automatic proofreading of your post before it is published
  • Colour coded error reporting
  • Ignore errors permanently or once
  • Grammar checker includes advanced features
  • Works with English, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese

There is a big issue with using this plugin, however. Jetpack isn’t currently compatible with Gutenberg which is the default page editor in WordPress 5.0 and later. This means that if you choose this solution you will need to deactivate the Gutenberg editor to make it work.


WP Spell Check

The WP Spell Check plugin gives you the possibility to scan and proofread your entire website with just one click. This plugin also checks for grammar mistakes, broken HTML code and errors in WordPress shortcodes.

WP Spell Check can also help a little with SEO. It will also notify you when it finds missing SEO fields like meta tags or descriptions when you run a scan.

The downside with this plugin could be the amount of work it is going to create for you. If you have a lot of content on your site, it could take many hours or even days for you to correct all the errors picked up by the plugin. The plugin is also only available in US English, so be prepared to be told you have spelt colour wrong over and over again.

Another issue with this plugin is the rather average feedback from people who have tried it on their site. It only has an overall rating of 3 out of 5, with a number of people finding that it didn’t work on their installation of WordPress.

Cutting and Pasting

If you don’t like the options so far, you can always copy your content out of WordPress and into a word processor. You will probably already have software available on your computer which can spell check for you. If you don’t, there are a few free options like WPS Office Free, LibreOffice or OpenOffice to name a few.

When you have downloaded a word processor you may still need to install an English dictionary if it doesn’t come with your preferred version already installed. They will normally have a US English dictionary by default but you may want a UK version.

If you don’t want to download anything there are online word processors available too. Google Docs is a popular choice but we’re going to look more closely at Hemingway.

Hemingway

Hemingway Editor

The online version of Hemingway is free to use and operates a little differently to the other checking tools we’ve looked at. It does check your spelling but the main focus of the software is to improve the readability of your work.

Hemingway highlights sentences which are more difficult to read in different colours. Sentences in red are considered very hard to read, whilst yellow indicates sentences which are less difficult but still a problem.

Other potential problems are highlighted too. For example, passive voice use is shown in green, adverbs in blue and phrases which have more straightforward alternatives are in purple.

The software doesn’t provide solutions to these issues, only identifying the problem. Its intention is to push you towards a grade 9 level of comprehension. This is the reason for the name of the software, Ernest Hemingway was known for his use of simple language and brief sentences.

This business behind the site does have a paid version of their software called Hemingway Editor. It is available for both Windows and Mac at a cost of $19.99.

If you get this software you will be able to publish to WordPress from within the editor, thanks to their one-click integration. Hemingway Editor also allows you to work offline and gives you the opportunity to export to other word processors as well.

Though this software, both online and the download version, does provide a service not covered by the other spell check tools, it does seem lacking. Since it doesn’t check grammar, you would have to use it in conjunction with another tool to remove all mistakes.

Does WordPress Have Spell Check? Conclusion

In answer to our question of does WordPress have spell check? We have shown that while it doesn’t, there are many options available to you to have this functionality when using WordPress.

Which option you go for will depend on your particular situation, though our choice would be a browser extension like Grammarly or the default option in your browser if there is one. Such extensions are quick to install and will work on other sites as well as WordPress.

It is never a bad idea to have your posts checked for spelling mistakes before you publish them, as it does look unprofessional and if you are using your site for business this could put off potential customers.


Gavin Pedley

Gavin Pedley is the guy behind ThriveWP. He has over 12 years experience in running and maintaining large online forums such as the WindowCleaningForums.co.uk, managing servers, creating, developing and managing WordPress websites. Gavin regularly shares his expertise via the ThriveWP blog and Youtube channel, where he creates informative and helpful WordPress tutorial videos. Connect with Gavin at Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter.

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