February 23, 2024

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I recently migrated from Blue Mail to the Evolution groupware suite on Linux. Since making the switch, I haven’t looked back. Evolution is the best combination of a modern UI with the features required to manage efficiently all of my email accounts (and then some).

A few days after starting my journey with this tool, I ran into a bit of a conundrum — spell check. Evolution has a built-in spell checker for both manual and automatic options. Although the manual option worked fine, enabling the Check spelling while I type option did nothing.

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I decided it was time to investigate.

Fortunately, my sleuthing didn’t take long, and I realized there was a missing piece to the puzzle. Said package is Hunspell, which is an open-source spell checker, morphological analyzer library, and command-line tool. Without this piece of software, Evolution isn’t capable of running an automatic spell as you type spellcheck.

Ergo, it must be installed.

Let me show you how.

How to enable Check spelling while you type

What you’ll need: To install Hunspell, you’ll need a running instance of a Linux distribution and a user with sudo privileges. I will demonstrate this on both the Ubuntu and Fedora distributions.

The first thing to do is open your terminal window application from the desktop menu.

On Ubuntu (or a Ubuntu-based distribution), the command to install Hunspell is:

sudo apt-get install hunspell -y

On Fedora (or a Fedora-based distribution) the installation command is:

sudo dnf install hunspell -y

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Enable Evolution’s automatic spellcheck

Finally, we can enable the automatic spell check in Evolution and it will work as expected. Here’s how.

Click the three-line menu button near the top-right corner of the Evolution window. From the drop-down menu, select Edit > Preferences.

The Evolution Edit menu.

Accessing the Preferences window can also be done with the Shift+Ctrl+S keyboard shortcut.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Click Composer Preferences in the left sidebar and then click the Spell Checking tab. At the bottom of the window, you should see a checkbox for Check spelling while I type. Click that checkbox to enable the feature. Once you’ve done that, close Preferences.

The Evolution Composer Preferences window.

You can also select multiple dictionaries for spellcheck.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

The automatic spellchecking should now work. As you compose an email, any misspelled word will be underlined in red. You can right-click that word to see recommendations. Select a recommendation and it will automatically be changed for you.

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Congratulations, you can now rely on Hunspell and Evolution to keep your spelling in check.