Power Typing

Something strange has been quietly taking place at Apple: Typing has been getting a lot of attention.

It began when Apple created system-wide spelling and grammar checkers. For the first time in computer history, the operating system took over typos and grammos. You didn’t have to maintain a separate spelling checker for each program you used. Now there’s just one, and it works in most programs: TextEdit, Stickies, iChat, Mail, iCal, Safari, Pages, iPhoto, iMovie, and so on. Add a word to the dictionary in one program, and it’s available to all the others.

Today, there’s much more. There’s text substitution, where you type addr and the system types out “Irwina P. McGillicuddy, 1293 Eastport Lane, Harborvilletown, MA, 02552.” (The same system autocorrects common typos like teh instead of the.) There’s also a case-flipping feature that can change selected text to ALL CAPS, all lowercase, or First Letter Capped. Both of these new features are available in most Apple programs and in any other programs that tap into Mac OS X’s built-in text-processing circuitry (although not, alas, Microsoft programs).

The Mac OS X Spelling and Grammar Checker

Mac OS X can give you live, interactive spelling and grammar checking, just as in Microsoft Word and other word processors. That is, misspelled words or badly written sentences or fragments get flagged with a dashed red underline (for grammar problems, a green underline) the moment you type them. Here’s the crash course:

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