Bug 75734 - Spell checking doesn't warn users if the selected dictionary isn't installed, but rather returns a potentially incorrect result
Summary: Spell checking doesn't warn users if the selected dictionary isn't installed,...
Status: NEW
Alias: None
Product: LibreOffice
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Linguistic (show other bugs)
(earliest affected) release
Hardware: All All
: medium enhancement
Assignee: Not Assigned
Keywords: needsDevEval
: 73036 76238 134992 136303 (view as bug list)
Depends on:
Blocks: Spell-Checking
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Reported: 2014-03-04 00:28 UTC by David H. Gutteridge
Modified: 2022-12-16 16:41 UTC (History)
7 users (show)

See Also:
Crash report or crash signature:


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Description David H. Gutteridge 2014-03-04 00:28:06 UTC
LibreOffice shouldn't pretend to spell check something when it's lacking the dictionary it's been asked to use. It should explicitly tell the user it can't proceed. There are many confused users encountering this issue, from what I've seen on many forum postings and many bug reports that have been submitted here.

LibreOffice should check for the presence of the required dictionary before starting the spell check and provide a meaningful error message if it's not found. Instead the spell check runs and reports no issues were found, which is quite misleading.

(The steps to reproduce are quite simple: just change the associated dictionary of selected text in a document to be any dictionary that isn't installed and run the spell check.)

I'm surprised no one's filed a bug that points this out already, but I couldn't find anything in the bug list. My apologies if I missed something. Responses are typically that users should download the necessary dictionary separately, which is all well and good, but the software itself should be telling them it can't complete the action requested. There'd be fewer duplicate bug reports about missing dictionaries if this was the case.
Comment 1 David H. Gutteridge 2014-03-04 00:36:30 UTC
I should add, I realize there's more than one means to invoke spell checking, since a user could have the "check as you go" feature enabled, or they could explicitly start an interactive spell checking session. At a minimum, I think the latter should pop up a warning indicating it has no dictionary to work with. (And if a document has multiple languages, it could trigger multiple times, so I realize this isn't the simplest thing to make elegant...)
Comment 2 Joel Madero 2014-03-07 04:57:16 UTC
Thank you for reporting this enhancement request! I can confirm that this is a valid enhancement request on:
Version: Build ID: 84862db95a5e22b9ef89baa2a8a5deeffefbdef6
Date:   Tue Feb 25 19:58:48 2014 +0100 
Platform: Ubuntu Linux 13.10 x64
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 
As I've been able to confirm the enhancement request I am marking as:

New (confirmed)
High - seems like a useful thing to have for many users, no dictionary should result in some kind of a warning if you try to do a spell check.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 
LibreOffice is powered by a team of volunteers, every bug is confirmed (triaged) by human beings who mostly give their time for free. We invite you to join our triaging by checking out this link:

There are also other ways to get involved including with marketing, UX, documentation, and of course developing -  http://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/mailing-lists/. 

Lastly, good bug reports help tremendously in making the process go smoother, please always provide reproducible steps (even if it seems easy) and attach any and all relevant material
Comment 3 Bryan Quigley 2015-07-06 22:01:22 UTC
*** Bug 76238 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 4 David H. Gutteridge 2015-11-16 20:40:25 UTC
Perhaps this could be added to the "easy hacks" list? That is, I don't know if it is an easy job, but as I imagined it, it would just be a check to confirm a selected dictionary is installed when a spell check is invoked, with a message box popping up a warning if the dictionary is missing.
Comment 5 Joel Madero 2015-11-16 20:43:02 UTC
Requesting developer input to get code pointers - I'm not convinced this would be easy as it would have to somehow determine the language of a non-installed package...it sounds pretty daunting to me.
Comment 6 David H. Gutteridge 2015-11-16 20:53:34 UTC
I certainly don't know either, but a typical complaint from users is that they've selected a language from a pre-existing list in LibreOffice that doesn't actually have the given dictionary installed (because the item doesn't have a tick symbol beside it, or what-have-you). Reporting that a list item previously selected/assigned has no actual dictionary installed doesn't seem difficult in theory. (But there is so often a gulf between theory and practice!)
Comment 7 Robinson Tryon (qubit) 2015-12-13 11:20:56 UTC Comment hidden (obsolete)
Comment 8 Óvári 2016-08-17 21:52:31 UTC
*** Bug 73036 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 9 Urmas 2016-08-19 04:27:02 UTC
That's a bad idea, as in a multilingual text it will break the spellcheck flow, showing a warning for each piece of unsupported language text.
Comment 10 David H. Gutteridge 2016-08-19 23:18:23 UTC
Yes, quite true, I alluded to that potential problem of a flurry of warnings. But what's also a really bad idea is a software design that claims to have compared two data sets and reports no issues when in fact it failed to do so because it cannot retrieve one of the two sets. Something needs to be done to try and address this, even if it's less than perfect.

Another possibility would be to build a list of any dictionaries the document requires at the time it's loaded and determine if any are unavailable, and if so, provide a single, concise warning. This wouldn't be perfect either, since someone could change to or add a different language while editing, but at least that would be an improvement and might reduce user confusion when the spell check silently fails to work. Or maybe there's a better idea entirely. I don't claim to have all the answers, I just think this merits attention.
Comment 11 Xisco Faulí 2019-11-29 13:27:25 UTC
Changing priority back to 'medium' since the number of duplicates is lower than 5
Comment 12 Óvári 2020-05-01 11:12:04 UTC
(In reply to Xisco Faulí from comment #11)
> Changing priority back to 'medium' since the number of duplicates is lower
> than 5

Should the number of different people who comment to an issue count towards 5? Thank you
Comment 13 Heiko Tietze 2020-07-21 10:01:29 UTC
*** Bug 134992 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 14 Aron Budea 2020-09-06 19:33:33 UTC
*** Bug 73036 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 15 Heiko Tietze 2020-09-10 15:19:28 UTC
*** Bug 136303 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***