Microsoft released Microsoft Edge 83, a new stable version of the company’s Chrome web browser, recently to the public. One of the changes of the release switched spell checking from the default Chromium-based spellchecker to Windows Spellcheck.
Microsoft Edge 83 or higher on Windows 8.1 or higher (including Windows 10), uses the Windows spellchecker and not the Chromium-based spellchecker anymore. Nothing changes for Microsoft Edge for other platforms, e.g. Windows 7 or Mac.
The change is active right after installation or upgrade to the new version; users don’t have to configure settings in Edge to make use of the new spellchecker.
Microsoft notes that Windows Spellcheck offers several advantages over the default spellchecker of Chromium-based browsers such as Google Chrome, Vivaldi, Brave, or Opera.
Previously, on Windows, Microsoft Edge and other Chromium browsers used open-source proofing tools for spell checking. Moving to Windows Spellcheck has a number of benefits, including support for additional languages and dialects, a shared custom dictionary, and better support for URLs, acronyms, and email addresses.
Spellchecking support is provided for languages that are installed on the system. Users who require spellchecking support for multiple languages need to install these on the Windows system to make use of Windows Spellcheck functionality. Spellchecking reverts to the Chromium-based spellchecker for any language that is not installed on the system.
Windows users may install languages in the Settings application under Time & Language > Language. A click on “add a preferred language” to install another language pack on the device; this needs to be repeated for every language if spellchecking should use Windows Spellcheck on the device.
Microsoft Edge users may control spellchecking functionality in the browser directly. Here is how that is done:
- Load edge://settings/languages in the browser’s address bar. Microsoft Edge lists preferred languages and spell checking controls on the page.
- Toggle spellchecking functionality under “check spelling” on the page to turn it on (blue toggle) or off (white toggle) individually.
One of the main advantages of using Windows Spellcheck over the open source Hunspell that Chromium uses is that you may notice that fewer items are highlighted as misspelled; this includes email addresses, URLs, and acronyms, many of which are highlighted by Hunspell while they are not highlighted by Windows Spellcheck.
Microsoft notes that the feature was developed as a collaboration between Microsoft and Google engineers who work on the Chromium project. Ultimate, Windows Spellcheck functionality will become available for all Chromium-based browsers who are run on Windows 8.1 or newer versions of Windows.
You may check the experimental flag chrome://flags/#win-use-native-spellchecker to find out if a Chromium-based browser supports the native spellchecker on Windows already.
Now You: Do you use the spellchecker in your browser?
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