InCopy’s Hidden Dictionaries

InCopy’s hyphenation and spell-checking routines are automatically set to the default language on your computer, such as US-English on most InCopy installs in the USA. Therefore, when you run a spell-check (or you turn on Dynamic Spelling from the Edit > Spelling flyout menu, as I’ve done here), foreign words and phrases will likely be flagged as misspelled, since they’re not in the default language dictionary.

Here, in the little bit of Spanish text on the second line, InCopy thinks both “quiares” and “ir” are misspelled.


If I right-click on “Quiares,” InCopy’s spell-checker suggests corrections in English:


Not very useful!

The solution is to tell InCopy to use the right dictionary for foreign words — but how? Where are the other dictionaries?

Reveal the Extra Dictionaries

Inexplicably, the Character panel’s “Language” dropdown menu — the one that lists InCopy’s thirty-odd alternative language dictionaries — is hidden from users by default. (If one Character panel option must be hidden, Adobe, I hereby nominate the Vertical and Horizontal Scale fields instead.)

To reveal the hidden dropdown menu, open the Character panel’s fly-out menu and choose Customize. Then, in the Customize dialog box, turn on the checkbox for Language, and click OK:


Now you’ll see the Language dropdown menu appear at the bottom of the Character panel, just as it does (by default) in InDesign:


At this point, you might want to edit your custom workspaces, or create a new one (Window > Workspace) that has the Language option enabled. That way you don’t have to root around for it again. None of the default workspaces bundled with InCopy reveals the option in their Character panels.

Apply the Right Language to Foreign Text

To tell InCopy “this text is in Spanish” (or whatever language it’s in), select the text and choose the language dictionary to which it should be linked from the dropdown menu:


Associating a language dictionary to a text selection does not translate that text to that language — which would be neat, actually! No, all it does is tell InCopy which dictionary to use for spelling and hyphenation. (So translators: No worries.)

Notice how, in my example, InCopy is still flagging “Quiares” as misspelled, even though it knows it’s a Spanish word. That’s because it Quaries is misspelled — in Spanish! When I right-click on the flagged misspelling, I get a list of suggested Spanish corrections from which to choose:


I happen to know that “Quieres” is the correct spelling, so when I choose it, all the mean red squigglies go away, and I can be fairly certain that the phrase is spelled correctly:



5 Responses to “InCopy’s Hidden Dictionaries”

  1. Juelmer says:

    I just wanted to let you know that in fact “Quiares” is misspelled for “Quieres” which means “Do you want?”…

  2. Juelmer says:

    Oh, I noticed that you have it corrected bellow, nice job!

  3. Sepra says:

    excellent work

  4. Chris DeJoy says:

    Is there a way to set the default in the spell-checker in InCopy CS6 so that it automatically checks the entire document, requiring one to manually change it to “selection” or “story” if one doesn’t want the whole document checked?

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