Anyone that has used the Linux spell command will realize that despite its usefulness, it has a few shortcomings that can make it difficult to use effectively. In this short video, Arnold Robbins will show you how to improve the spell command’s performance quickly and easily. You will learn:

How to sort the results of a spell command.

How to de-duplicate your results.

How to use a wordlist to filter out false positives.

Arnold also demonstrates how he has automated these solutions using a makefile target. If you have ever needed to use the Linux spell command to check your content written with a text-based markup language such as Markdown, Texinfo, or even plain text, you will find this video helpful.

Dig deeper into mastering Linux utilities with more than 7 hours of training in Robust Shell Scripting from Arnold Robbins.


Arnold Robbins is a professional software engineer who has worked with UNIX systems since 1980. The author of more than a dozen O'Reilly titles, including Linux in a Nutshell, Effective awk Programming, and the Bash Pocket Reference, Arnold is a master communicator who holds a BA in Information Science from Yeshiva University and an MS in Computer and Information Science from Georgia Tech.

Article image: Screen from "How can I make the Linux spell command more useful?" (source: O'Reilly).