SolidWorks Spelling Check (who’s using it?)

I recently conducted a small poll on SolidWorks Yahoo! Group asking who was using SolidWorks Spelling Check.  To my surprize, almost half (so far) have never even hear of Spelling Check.

Spelling Check Poll

Only 21% of respondents use Spelling Check regularly.  I guess the next question is, “Why aren’t more people using this seemingly obvious tool in SolidWorks?”  Is there a good answer for that?  From my own experience, I use Lenny’s CommonNotes, which means most of my general notes are pre-fabbed.  Since the bulk of the text appears in the general notes, there isn’t much text left in the body of the drawing where misspellings can hide.  So, out of a lack for necessity, I’m in the “Yes, sometimes” category.

Here’s the kicker.  For the Spelling Check to work, Microsoft Word has to be installed since SolidWorks piggybacks the Microsoft spell checker.

This brings me to another point.  Why does this tool have a weird name?  We all know this function is a spell checker.  So, why is it referred to as “Spelling Check” in SolidWorks?  This seems to be a rather odd quirk.

(To access Spelling Check, open a drawing and goto Tools pulldown>Spelling….)

SolidWorks Spell Checker (or Spelling Check)

SolidWorks’ Spelling Check can be fairly useful when proofreading a drawing.  It’s not extremely powerful, but it is as functional as one might expect from a manually initiated spell checker.  For those who didn’t even know that SolidWorks has a spell checker, it’s available under Tools pulldown>Spelling….  (I don’t know the SW version where it was introduced.)  To improve its usefulness, it may be a good idea to add more words to your Spelling Check dictionary file(s).  There’s several main ways to add words to the Spelling Check.

Method 1

The most obvious method is to add your new word to an annotation note in a drawing, then run Spelling Check.  When it identifies your new word as a misspelling, simply click the Add button (this isn’t the most efficient way to add multiple words).  This method will add words to your swdictionary.dic file located in the SolidWorks folder under C:\…\lang\english.

Method 2

If you wish to update the Spelling Check with a bit more control (adding and deleting words), start the Spelling Check and choose the More Options… button.  On the Spelling Options window, choose Dictionaries button.  Stay with me, there’s more.  Highlight “swengineering” then choose the Edit button.  Finally!  OK, now that you’ve made it here, add and delete words one at a time as you please.  This method will edit your swengineering.dic file (same location as the swdictionary.dic file).  Funny thing is that even though you are editing the swengineering.dic file with hundreds of words, you cannot delete any already existing words.  You can only delete the words you add to it.  It is also funny that this method edits the swengineering.dic file, while the main screen of the Spelling Check edits the swdictionary.dic file.

Hmmm…hey SolidWorks Corp, why are there two different dictionary files?

Method 3

In my opinion, the easiest way to add words to Spelling Check in bulk is by editing your swdictionary.dic file directly with Notepad.  With the file open, add one new word per line.  Use all capital letters.  Capital letters are not a requirement.  It will simply keep the dictionary listings consistent within the file, especially if other words are added later by using the Spelling Check.


As with other similar types of SolidWorks resource files, the swdictinoary.dic and swengineering.dic files can be located on a network drive for standardization across an enterprize.  Presumably, these files should be in the same folder.  To set the file location, goto Tools pulldown>Options…>File Locations and select Spelling Folder.  New dictionary files can also be added within Spelling Check’s Dictionary window.

Enhancement Request

One function I would like to see added to the Spelling Check is the ability to add to automatic replacements for common misspellings of user words that are added to the dictionary files.  For example, if I add the word Loctite and someone spells it as Locktite, SolidWorks currently doesn’t know to suggest Loctite as the correct spelling.