FreeSpell 4.5

(c) 2016

A Product of HCI Design (

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IntroductionHow to use it  | How it works | Switching Dictionaries | Deluxe + ProSpell | Support


FreeSpell is a spell checker for any and all Windows applications. You can use it in your web browser, in Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Visual C++, and even in Windows Explorer when renaming files. Anything that supports the clipboard supports FreeSpell; just select the text you wish to check, and press the hotkey (by default, Win+Z). FreeSpell is based upon the Aspell engine, which means it offers the best spell checker around for people with weak spelling skills (as well for people who just need a quick proofread). Aspell comes with a large default dictionary and custom dictionary support.

Please note the name. FreeSpell is entirely free. You and I deserve an easily accessible spellchecker for use with all applications, and that is why FreeSpell was written. This product will always be free - no expiration, no nag screens, no guilt trips. Spell checking should be built into the OS, and until it is, FreeSpell will provide it for you for free. There is, however, a deluxe version of FreeSpell which has additional features. We also make ProSpell; a version of FreeSpell which offers a fully GUI based interface. By downloading FreeSpell you also got a copy of ProSpell. You can try out both programs without obligation. Note, however, that ProSpell is not free. In order to allow full functionality you must register it. 

How to use it

Once FreeSpell is installed you need to run it in the background to enable spell checking. Do this by selecting it from the start menu, or double clicking on its icon, and then minimizing FreeSpell once it has launched.  The memory footprint is quite small - about 50k, since the spell checking module is loaded on demand. I suggest putting a shortcut to FreeSpell.exe in your startup folder so that it's always available. 

Then, whenever you want to spell check some text, select it, and push Winkey-Z.  (Note, this is the default hotkeyt, which you can easily change). That means you push and hold the WinKey (usually between the control and alt key on your keyboard), depress the Z key, and then release both keys.

A console window will open up with the text you selected. It will offer suggestions on any misspellings FreeSpell finds. The console window closes as soon as all spelling issues are addressed, so if your text is perfectly spelled, the console window will open and then immediately close.  Note that the console is a text mode program only, and does not support the mouse; select the replacement word you wish to use by entering the number or letter next to it.

The corrected text will be automatically pasted back into your current application. If, by some chance this final part does not complete correctly (say the original text was deselected, such as when you invoke FreeSpell on the name of a file in Explorer), the corrected text remains in the clipboard so that you may manually insert it.

NOTE: if you wish to use FreeSpell with Mozilla/Firefox, you need to specify a hotkey which does not include the "Alt" key. These apps do not correctly handle the Alt key at this time, however, any hotkey based on Control, Shift, Winkey, or some combination therein works fine.

How it works

FreeSpell harnesses the powerful Aspell engine to check the text you select by sending it to the Aspell console application.  From there the text is automatically pasted back into your application. Aspell, by the way, is an excellent open source spellchecker from the UNIX world, which is now available as a text mode application on many different OSes, from Linux to Windows.  Find out more about this package on the official Aspell web site.

Switching dictionaries

New dictionaries can be downloaded from . When installing, tell the program to place the files in the FreeSpell directory instead of the Aspell directory. For instance, if you used the default FreeSpell install location, you should tell the dictionary install program to place its files in C:\Program Files\FreeSpell. Then you will need to tell FreeSpell to use the new dictionary. This can be done in the advanced configuration options, by modifying the AspellOptions line to look something like 

AspellOptions=-H --lang=ca 

Note that exact value that --lang equals will depend on the dictionary you downloaded. Please read the Aspell manual for more details on the proper command line switches to enable different dictionaries. 

FreeSpell Deluxe + ProSpell

The 'Free' version of FreeSpell is fully functional. A deluxe version is available which offers more features, which currently include:

Also included with the Deluxe version of FreeSpell is HCI Design's ProSpell, which features a full GUI interface, while retaining the full power of the Aspell engine. A demo version of ProSpell ships with FreeSpell.

FreeSpell Deluxe + ProSpell cost $10, and can be ordered online here.  


If you are having problems getting FreeSpell to work, you may wish to try other hotkeys (the default, Winkey-Z, is known to work well). Also, make sure you have the latest version (see ).

If your problems persist even after rebooting, you may wish to contact tech support. Before doing so, please run DebugView, try to use FreeSpell to check the text in the application that isn't working, and send us a copy of the debug report produced by DebugView. This will help us understand where FreeSpell went wrong.  

Send your report to  freeSpell45(at)