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Spelling and language dictionaries

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Designing a brochure, a flyer, or a resume? Ensure text accuracy with the help of spelling and language dictionaries in Illustrator.

Check spellings

With the Check Spelling feature, you do not need to worry about spellings as Illustrator will check them for you. Illustrator provides two ways to check spellings – Manual (post-writing, one-by-one) and Automatic (real-time, all-at-once).

Spelling check

Check spellings manually

Use this option when you want to manually check all spelling errors one-by-one after typing the text.

To check spellings one-by-one using the Check Spelling dialog, do one of the following:
  • Choose Edit > Spelling > Check Spelling.
  • Right-click the text component and choose Spelling > Check Spelling.

Check spellings automatically

Use this option when you:

  • do not want to spend time in manually checking the spelling errors in a long document.
  • want to see the errors as you type (real-time) or all together if the text is already typed.

To check spellings automatically, do one of the following:

  • Choose Edit > Spelling > Auto spell check.
  • Right-click the text component and choose Spelling > Auto spell check.

Address the spelling error

Check spelling

A. Check spelling dialog B. Options for finding and ignoring words 

Manual spelling check

When an error is indicated:

  • Click Ignore or Ignore All to continue spell-checking without changing the word.

  • Select a word from the Suggestions list or type the correct word in the top box.

  • Click Add to store an acceptable but unrecognized word in the dictionary.

Automatic spelling check

Right-click the misspelled word and do one of the following:

  • Choose a correct word from the listed suggestions.
  • Click Ignore All to ignore all misspelled occurrences in the document.
  • Click Add to Dictionary to add the word in the dictionary so that it is no longer reported as an error.
  • To modify the rules for automatic spellcheck, go to Options in the Change Spelling dialog. 
  • Automatic spell-check is not supported if the text contains an effect.
  • Illustrator can check for spelling errors in a variety of languages based on the language you assign to words. To assign a language, select the text and use the Language menu on the Character panel to specify the language for the text.

Edit the spelling dictionary

  1. Choose Edit > Edit Custom Dictionary.

    Edit Spelling Dictionary

  2. Do any of the following, and click Done:

    • To add a word to the dictionary, type the word in the Entry box, and click Add.

    • To remove a word from the dictionary, select the word in the list, and click Delete.

    • To modify a word in the dictionary, select the word in the list. Then, type the new word and click Change.

Assign languages to text

Illustrator has features for checking both spelling and hyphenation. The dictionary contains hundreds of thousands of words with standard syllable breaks. You can assign a language to an entire document or apply a language to selected text.

Assign languages to text in Illustrator
Examples of hyphenation for different languages

A. “Glockenspiel” in English B. “Glockenspiel” in Traditional German C. “Glockenspiel” in Reformed German 

Apply a language to all text

  1. [Windows] Choose Edit > Preferences > Hyphenation 
    [macOS] Choose Illustrator > Preferences > Hyphenation

  2. Select a dictionary from the Default Language drop-down list and click OK.

Assign a language to selected text

In the Character panel, choose the appropriate dictionary from the Language menu. If the Language menu isn’t showing, choose Show Options from the Character panel menu.


Illustrator supports Unicode, a standard that assigns a unique number to every single character, no matter which language or type of computer you use.

All of these things make it possible for a French designer to design for a client in Korea and hand the job off to a partner in the United States without having to struggle with the text. All the U.S. designer needs to do is enable the correct language in the operating system, load the foreign‑language font, and continue the project.

Features of unicode


Letters and numbers will not change when you move the file from one workstation to another. Adding a foreign language to a document doesn’t cause confusion, because foreign characters have their own designations that don’t interfere with the encoding from other languages in the same project.


Because Windows and macOS now support Unicode, moving a file between the two platforms is easier. No longer will you need to proofread an Illustrator file just because you moved to it a Windows computer from a Mac or vice versa.


Because Unicode‑compliant fonts offer a larger number of potential characters, specialty type characters are readily available.


With Unicode support, substituting a typeface in a project won’t result in substituted characters. With a Unicode‑compliant font, a g is a g no matter which typeface is used.

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