Some good things do come in small packages and TinySpell (a spell checker for Windows) is one of them. For those interested in the written word and its correct spelling, TinySpell is a must have. There are lots of spelling utilities out there like the well known WordWeb or even Office suite’s own spell checker, but they require our intervention to give the correct spelling. TinySpell does the same job on the fly for any Windows application.
So in effect it becomes useful for applications like Notepad which do not have an in-built spellchecker. TinySpell comes as a freeware and also as a paid app. Here we will of course take a look at the freeware version.
TinySpell sits in the system tray and waits for you to commit a spelling mistake. It watches over your data in two ways.
Checking on the fly
It keeps tabs on your typing and then alerts you to any spelling errors. When it detects a misspelled word, an alarm beeps and shows a spelling tip and the TinySpell icon in the system tray changes colour from white to yellow.
Checking the clipboard
TinySpell also monitors the clipboard for any spell checks on the text you copy there. Again, the program notifies the user with a beep and a yellow icon. If the icon remains white it means that there’s no spelling errors in the text copied to the clipboard.
Correct your mistakes with a click
To correct the spelling mistakes click the TinySpell icon or press the assigned hot-key. A pop up gives a list of probable replacement words to select from the list. The selected word is inserted into your document, or is copied to the clipboard so you can paste it in your document.
Of course, TinySpell is not the cure-all for poor English but it offers a lot of help with its 110,000 word rich American-English dictionary. Alas, the free version does not allow the adding of additional dictionaries; a facility provided in the paid TinySpell+ version. But as a consolation you can add (and remove) individual words to the dictionary in the way we do in Microsoft Word. There is also a tiny spelling window where you can search for the correct spelling of a misspelt word.
The End Opinion
For a 1.3 MB sized application, don’t expect an automated Webster clone and you won’t be disappointed. The program does live up to its name as a small utilitarian tool. It hogs very little of system resources and does indeed check for spelling errors in any application.
I tried it out within the text entry fields of web pages, Notepad, Paint and a few more and it does a fairly good job of alerting the user through beeps and visual cues. If the beeps jangle your nerves, they can be replaced easily with a more pleasing .wav sound file from the settings.
For the sake of criticism let’s say that the user needs to pause and correct the misspelt word immediately as there are no red underlines akin to MS Word. Accessibility would have got a boost with a right click context add-in.
All in all though, it’s worth every bit of its 561KB download.
TinySpell v1.7 is available from here and supports Windows 2000/XP/Vista.
Let us know what you think of it or perhaps you know of a better program?