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WSpell ActiveX Spelling Checker Control

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Frequently asked questions

How do I use WSpell to check text entered in Web page forms?

WSpell can check text entered in text areas on Web pages viewed with Internet Explorer running on a Windows platform. (Unfortunately, Netscape does not directly support ActiveX controls.) See Add a spelling checker to your Web applications for other web-based spelling checker solutions offered by Wintertree Software.

How do I use WSpell to spell check in my application?

WSpell can spell check text strings, standard text boxes (TextBox and CEdit), standard rich-text boxes (RichTextBox and CRichEdit), and TX Text Control. The most common application involves checking the contents of a text box on a form. Usually, your application will set WSpell's TextControlHWnd property with the window-handle property of the text box (usually called the handle or hWnd property), then call WSpell's Start method. WSpell will check the words in the text box. When it finds a spelling error, it will highlight the misspelled word and present its built-in spell check dialog, The user can use this dialog to look up suggestions, add words to user dictionaries, and correct misspellings. When a correction is made, WSpell updates the text control automatically.

WSpell can also be used to monitor the user's typing and editing in text controls to detect misspelled words as they are typed. If the text control supports it, misspelled words can be marked by changing their appearance (e.g., drawing the word with red text, or underlining the word). WSpell can also pop up a spelling context menu containing suggested replacements for the misspelled word.

You can also use WSpell to spell check strings using the built-in spellchecker dialog, with your own dialog, or without interacting with the user at all.

See Add a spell checker to applications you develop for more information.

Can I use WSpell in an ASP application?

Yes. However, WSpell was designed for use in desktop applications, where concurrency (multiple applications or threads accessing WSpell at the same time) is low. Wintertree Spelling Server is a much better choice for ASP applications.

Can I use WSpell in a .NET application?

Yes, but see the question above regarding ASP applications. Although it's possible to use WSpell, we recommend Wintertree Spelling Server for ASP.NET applications. For desktop VB.NET and C# applications, we recommend our Sentry Windows SDK product.

What's the difference between WSpell and your Sentry Spelling Checker Engine product?

The main difference is that Sentry is implemented as a DLL and WSpell is an ActiveX control (OCX). WSpell uses the Sentry engine internally, so the two products are comparable in terms of power and performance. See What's the difference between Sentry and WSpell for a more detailed comparison.

What about support?

See Support Policy for a description of the support we provide.

What's the current version of WSpell?

Information on the current version is posted here.

How do I obtain upgrades?

To obtain an upgrade, order product #0172. We also have an annual maintenance contract available (product #0158).

Can I add words to the dictionary?

Yes. WSpell allows your application to open dictionaries, much like a program can open files. When WSpell checks the spelling of a word, it checks all open dictionaries. Text dictionaries are modifiable; your application can add and remove words from them at runtime. Any number of user dictionaries can be open at once, limited only by available memory. You can easily create a custom dictionary that contains new words, and users can add words to one or more user dictionaries at run time.

Can WSpell offer suggested replacements for misspelled words?

Yes. WSpell includes the Suggest method, which looks up suggestions for misspellings. If your application is using our built-in spelling-checker dialog, suggestions can be offered automatically or when the "Suggest" button is pressed.

Do I have to use your dialog boxes, or can I write my own?

You can do either or both. Using our dialogs is the easiest approach, but WSpell's properties and methods are flexible enough to support custom dialogs. Instructions for providing your own dialog is included in the programmer's guide, and example custom dialogs are provided. If necessary, you can access WSpell's spell check capabilities without a user interface at all.

Does the dictionary just contain words, or words and definitions?

Just words. WSpell is a highly optimized spell check engine.

Can WSpell use other applications' user dictionaries (e.g., Word for Windows)?

Yes. WSpell can use most other applications' user dictionaries.

How much memory and disk space does WSpell need?

The WSpell OCX file is about 110K. The American, British, and Canadian English dictionaries each occupy just over 300K. At run time, WSpell will use a maximum of about 500K of memory.

How fast is WSpell?

Very fast! On a modest system, WSpell can spell check over 150,000 words per second! Click here to find out how we measured this.

Do I have to pay any royalties or other licensing fees to bundle WSpell with my applications?

No! The WSpell license agreement permits you to bundle certain run-time portions (the OCX, dictionaries, and a few other bits and pieces) with your applications without paying additional fees.

How long has WSpell been around? Is it stable?

The core spell check engine in WSpell has been around since 1992. It formed part of a commercial stand-alone spell checker product. We released our spell check engine as a separate product in 1993. WSpell, which contains our spell check engine, was released in late 1997. Since then, we have issued 15 releases to add new features and keep pace with changing technology.

There are several spellcheck packages on the market. Why should we license yours?

Glad you asked! Here are a few areas where we beat the competition hands down:

  • We have been around for a long time (since 1992), and we intend to stay around. Since 1992 we have watched several competitors come and go. It's in your interest to select a vendor with a proven track record and longevity to meet your current and future needs.

  • Spell checkers are our business. Our competitors' spell checkers are add-ons to other products and after-thoughts. Our engineering time goes into making our spell check technology better. We're up on — and even help to define — the latest trends in spell check technology.
  • WSpell is multi-lingual, with dictionaries available in a variety of languages.
  • Dictionary quality: A spell checker is only as good as its word list. We'll stack our dictionaries up against anybody's.
  • Performance: WSpell is very fast. Try our evaluation version and see for yourself.
  • Ease of integration: WSpell's interface is direct and straightforward. We remember all necessary state information so your application doesn't have to. There are no complicated data structures to set up and maintain.
  • Royalty free: No copy counting required, and no disclosure of your sales figures necessary.

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