The purpose of this tutorial is to show how to enable the language spell check feature in LibreOffice on a Linux system. This will allow you to get spell check and auto correct suggestions in the language of your choosing. Follow the steps below to get started.
In this tutorial you will learn:
- How to enable/disable spell check for a language in LibreOffice
- How to install additional languages for spell check in LibreOffice
- How to use multiple spell check languages at once in LibreOffice
|Category||Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used|
|System||Any Linux distro|
|Other||Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the
# – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user
Enable language spell check in LibreOffice step by step instructions
- Get started by opening LibreOffice. In this example, we will configure the language spell check settings inside of LibreOffice Writer. However, the settings and menus look the same across all LibreOffice applications – Writer, Calc, Math, Base, Draw, Impress, etc. Alternatively, you can open the LibreOffice launcher, which will allow you to change spell check settings across the entire suite of applications.
- The first thing we need to do is tell LibreOffice what language we want spell check suggestions for. In the application you chose to open, navigate to Tools > Options.
- Next, navigate to the Languages tab. The settings that we are interested in are under the “Default Languages for Documents” heading.
- Expand the drop down menu in order to select the default language for your documents. In this example, we will select Mexican Spanish, even though our LibreOffice suite is currently configured for American English.
If you do not see an “A” alongside a checkmark (the spell check logo) next to your listed language, then LibreOffice does not currently have the required spell check package installed for the desired language. We will show you how to overcome this issue in the following section.
- If you want these settings to only apply to the current document you have open, be sure to check the option for “For the current document only” otherwise leave this option blank to have the setting persist on future instances.
- As you can see, we can now type in the target language and get spell check suggestions.
- Note that you can turn on or off automatic spell checking in the Tools menu.
- Open up the Tools > Spelling menu to check your entire document for spelling errors. Feel free to select a different language from the drop down menu.
- Keep in mind that you can have multiple languages inside of your document, and still use spell check on these sections. You just need to tell LibreOffice what language a certain section is in. Just highlight your text and navigate to Tools > Language. From there, choose whether you want to configure the language for a selection, paragraph, or all text.
- Final result: As you can see in the screenshot below, LibreOffice marks both of our sentences as spelled correctly, even though the document contains two different languages.
Installing additional languages for spell check in LibreOffice
Don’t see the desired language in the spell check menus we went through above? You have a couple of options to install the language that you need.
- First, you can manually install the desired LibreOffice edition from the official LibreOffice download page. This will allow you to select the language you need.
- Alternatively, most Linux distros should allow you to install individual spell check packs from the system’s package manager. For example, executing the following command on Debian or Ubuntu based systems will show dozens of different spell check language packs that can be installed for LibreOffice.
$ apt search myspell
Find the one you need and then install it (for example, to install Spanish spell check package):
$ sudo apt install myspell-es -y
Once it is installed, go back and repeat the step by step instructions from the first section of the tutorial.
In this tutorial, we saw how to enable spell check for any language in LibreOffice applications on a Linux system. We also learned how to install new spell check language packs in case the desired language is not already available on your system. Lastly, we saw how to use two or more languages in the same document simultaneously. If you need to change the language of LibreOffice’s interface menus, see our tutorial on How to change LibreOffice language.