Get Romanian spell-checking in Mac OS X


As you may know—all too well—Apple’s Mac OS X doesn’t offer native support for Romanian spell checking. Quite an embarrassment.

However, it is possible to install a Romanian spell-check dictionary (with diacritics and all)—in three fairly easy steps—available to all applications using system spell-checking services, like Mail, Pages, Keynote, Safari, iChat etc.1

Romanian Spellcheck in Apple Mac OS X / Corector ortografic pentru limba română în Apple Mac OS X, © Cristian -Kit- Paul, Bucharest, 2010.

Here is how to add system-wide Romanian spell-check dictionary to Mac OS X—a simple step-by-step guide.

Step 1. Install Aspell and cocoAspell

Aspell is a Free and Open Source spell checker, cocoAspell is a Mac OS X system services interface for Aspell.

Action: Go to cocoAspell homepage and download the installer—currently at version 2.1. The package will install Aspell and a Spelling preference panel to control cocoAspell.

Spelling System Preference / Corectorul ortografic apare în System Preferences, © Cristian -Kit- Paul, Bucharest, 2010.

Outcome: If all goes well a Spelling preference panel will appear in System Preferences.

Step 2. Install the Romanian dictionary

We have the engine, now we need a compatible Romanian spell-check dictionary—say hello to Aspell Romanian Dictionary Package.

Action: Open the Official Aspell Dictionaries FTP directory, scroll to “Română” and get aspell5-ro-3.3-2.tar.bz2. Expand it an move the resulting aspell5-ro-3.3-2 folder to ~/Library/Application Support/cocoAspell/.

If this sounds frightening, let me do it for you—just open a Terminal window and paste the following instructions one at a time:


curl -O

bunzip2 -t -d aspell5-ro-3.3-2.tar.bz2

tar -xf aspell5-ro-3.3-2.tar

mkdir ~/Library/Application\ Support/cocoAspell/

mv aspell5-ro-3.3-2 ~/Library/Application\ Support/cocoAspell/aspell5-ro-3.3-2

rm aspell5-ro-3.3-2.tar

Outcome: Opening the System Preferences → Spelling panel will require Aspell to compile the dictionary. You should get the following message:

Compiling Romanian dictionary dialog window / Corectorul ortografic pentru limba română se compilează, © Cristian -Kit- Paul, Bucharest, 2010.

And then:

Romanian Dictionary was compiled successfuly dialog window /  Corectorul ortografic pentru limba română s-a compilat, © Cristian -Kit- Paul, Bucharest, 2010.

Consequently, Romanian should appear in the Spelling panel’s dictionaries list—and you need to enable it:

Enable Romanian dictionary in Spelling System Preference window /  Activeaza corectorul ortografic pentru limba română in System Preferences din OS X, © Cristian -Kit- Paul, Bucharest, 2010.

Step 3. Use the Romanian spell checker in applications

In order to use the newly installed dictionary, you need to select it in your spelling preferences.

Action: In you application of choice select from the menu bar: Edit → Spelling → Show Spelling and Grammar:

in Show Spelling and Grammar dialogue select Romanian language / În Show Spelling and Grammar selectează Română, © Cristian -Kit- Paul, Bucharest, 2010.

In Pages, select from the menu bar: View → Show inspector → Text → Language → Română:

Set Romanian Language in Pages text inspector / Setează limba română in Pages pentru a putea folosi corectorul ortografic, © Cristian -Kit- Paul, Bucharest, 2010.

Outcome: After selecting the Romanian dictionary, the spelling engine should switch to Romanian.

Final notes

  • If this works for you, donate to Anton Leuski via the PayPall Donate button oncocoAspell page2;
  • Please note that this tutorial is provided ‘as is’, and I’m not responsible should any data loss occur—a backup is always a good idea. If in doubt, consult maintainer’s installation instructions, f.a.q. and troubleshooting pages;
  • Kudos to the Romanian team3.

1 The Romanian spell-check dictionary will not be available to applications using their own spell checking engines, like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Illustrator or InDesign etc.

2 I paid $10 via PayPall Donate.

3 Lucian Constantin (rospell), Alexandru Szasz (Mozilla and Romanian Translation Team), Ionut Paduraru (, Adrian Stoica ( Romanian Translation Team), Nicu Buculei ( Romanian Translation Team), Catalin Francu (DEX Online Team,, Ionel Mugurel Ciobica (previous aspell releases) and Mihai Budiu (ispell dictionary).


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