The preferred Australian English spelling is now available for Microsoft Word/Office (Windows and Mac), Internet Explorer 10/11 and Apple Mac at

Monday, December 21, 2015

American spelling ever present in our computer software.

As I was setting up the Bulk Billing Doctors Melbourne site and did a search for "bulk billing doctors Melbourne", I was reminded that it's not just the software we use on our computers the contains American spelling, it's also the online services we use.

If you do a search for "bulk billing doctors Melbourne", you'll notice the section Google shows that lists businesses. Not the ads or the organic search results, but the section which often includes a map. In this section you'll notice review ratings along with the term Medical Center. Yes the American spelling.

I've noticed this in other online services, such as LinkedIn, where you'll find the occasional American spelling.

Whilst it may be easily tricked and forget the Australian spelling, just remind yourself you're using software or services that have been developed and supplied by American companies. The companies should take the time and effort to localise their software or service, but their efforts in those areas is often lacking. We're just not important enough to them.

If you do get confused then keep in mind you can use Word Check to check if you're using the preferred Australian English spelling. Word Check is available at

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Did you know Outlook web apps uses the spellchecker in your browser?

I get notified of spelling related articles on the internet. I found this article interesting as I wasn't aware that Microsoft's Outlook web apps use the browser's spellchecker. I'd never thought about it really. Older browsers didn't have spellchecking and online services typically used their own spellcheckers. Even as I type this I can see the check spelling option of Blogger, but my testing does indicate the browser is performing the spellcheck as you type function.

(NOTE: Being a little pedantic, but the article contains an error. They've been very good to be careful with their wording, but at the start of the second paragraph missed "Spell checking" which should be "Spellchecking". It's an easy error to make as that is one created by their spellchecker.)

Back on topic. That now means spellchecking is only as good as the dictionary you have installed and the standard dictionary contains many issues and errors. I've identified over two and half thousand with Microsoft products. Those using Google Chrome and Firefox will have even more because they use my obsolete open source work.

The best spellchecking experience for Australians is available using my add-in files for Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer and Apple Mac OSX (which covers native applications such as Safari, Apple mail and other applications, but weird as it may sound, is used by Microsoft Outlook). The Mac OSX native dictionary is still a work in progress but even at this stage is very good.

If you're interested in the best spellchecking experience you can find more information at

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, July 13, 2015

When using software and online services keep in mind there's quite a lot of American spelling.

Every day as I use my computer and online services I see American spelling. I open the MacBook Air and see words such as color, maximize and center. Open up Microsoft Windows and I'll see words such as favorites and maximize.

Recently the following message popped up in Google using the spelling "spelled" instead of "spelt".

The problem I find is many of these incorrect spelling variations start to be considered the norm, or confuse people. The spelling "spell check" is often considered to be correct by many since the spellchecker changes the spelling from "spellcheck" to "spell check". Since the word processor makes the change it must be right, right? The answer is no, it is wrong.

The tools we use every day to assist us with our writing are full of American spelling variations and errors. It's important to keep this in mind so the tools don't negatively impact your writing. The preferred Australian English spelling tools I create improve the tools for the content you create, but we're not able to improve the user interface at this stage. Australia represents around 1-3% of the global market which isn't a large slice, so we need to keep in mind where we're positioned on the global stage.

As I find software or techniques to provide a better experience for Australians, I'll share that information via this blog.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Microsoft Office 2016 now available on Mac OSX so I decided to test the use of the preferred Australian English spelling.

I recently read that Microsoft Office 2016 for the Mac is now available for download if you're an Office 365 user. I decided to download and test Office 2016, specifically with respect to  the preferred Australian English spelling.

The download and installed worked well. I first confirmed Microsoft Office applications such as Word/Excel still use Microsoft's own dictionary. Outlook still uses your selected Apple dictionary. I find this truly weird, but it indicates Microsoft's developer teams may be separate for Outlook and the rest of Office. I was wondering if this would change but it hasn't. At least that's now known.

As I was using Microsoft Office 2016 I notice a number of American spellings in the menus. First I thought perhaps I hadn't set up something correctly. Reading further indicates the Microsoft Office user interface takes the language from the OSX operating system. I then checked the Language & Region setting. It was set to English so I thought that was the problem. I could see for example in Desktop & Screen Saver the spelling "Solid colors". I then decided to add English (Australia) and remove any other language so as to be very specific. That didn't help.

Unfortunately at this stage I don't seem to be able to find a way to remove the American spelling from the user interface for the Apple MacBook Air and thus Microsoft Office. I'm starting to get a feeling this may end up being one of those, they simply don't care enough about the Australian market. Happy for us to buy their products, but not enough to put in the extra yards to make it specific to the market. I hope I'm wrong.

Perhaps I'm wrong and there's something I'm overlooking. When time permits I'll drop into the local Apple Genius bar and see what they say.

Personally I don't think this good enough for either Apple or Microsoft. In the past I've tried to escalate language issues within Microsoft for years to no avail, so I don't really feel like expending that type of energy again for Apple.

It really irks me to think of the millions of Australians using Apple products who are constantly being shown American spelling. It's hard enough to spell correctly without being shown the incorrect spelling for words making us doubt ourselves.

Microsoft Office 2016 is available now for Office 365 users. From what I've read, for those who wish to purchase Microsoft Office product rather than subscribe, the release date is most likely around the Spring/September timeframe.

For those who have purchased my dictionary files, the files will continue to work as they did for Office 2013 and Mac OSX.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling for Microsoft Office.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Thirty per cent of people worry about making writing and spelling errors.

When I read the linked article this paragraph caught my attention.

"Failing to achieve key outcomes/goals was considered the worst mistake ever made (32 per cent) quickly followed by written errors and spelling mistakes (30 per cent).",

I thought that's a lot of stress, some of which can be avoided.

Over the years I've read of many people getting stress or grief from their spellcheckers. The most common being the use of "ize" spelling (which is a secondary spelling variation in Australia), which is considered by many as American spelling and incorrect. In particular this affects students.

If spelling is causing you grief, Word Check is the only online service enabling you to check to see if the word you're using is spelt using the preferred Australian English spelling. The Microsoft Office add-ins enable you to eliminate thousands of secondary spelling variations often considered errors. For more information visit

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling add-ins for Windows and Mac.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Be careful when reading articles online, even if they're on sites.

An article from Business Insider pop into my inbox which I thought would be interesting to share. As I was reading the article something didn't feel right. Some of the advice didn't seem right for Australia.

Even though this article is on a site, Business Insider also has a .com site. The author of the article is Christina Sterbenz. Further checking reveals Christina lives in New York, so it starts to make sense that some of the content may not be correct.

If you search the internet for a part of the document, such as "These students spend months, sometimes years, studying for their big moments on the mic.", you'll see the article is being republished across the internet. For Australians the word "memorize" has been changed to "memorise", which is appropriate. But it is easy to change the obvious, but only an Australian editor/journalist would pick the less obvious differences in the language, that we as Australians will read as errors.

As you read the article there's small clues that catch your attention, which makes you suspect this isn't an Australian article. The first is the word "Anglicized". Yes they got "memorise" correct but they've not been thorough. Where the article really tripped me up is when they started talking about how we sound a word. That's when it didn't make sense as how Australians and Americans pronounce some words is different and it then became apparent this was an article that could mislead people.

Perhaps the worst piece of advice is to check the Oxford Online Dictionary. This is something you shouldn't do in Australia. We don't have a free online resource in Australia, but if you do check a word, use the printed Macquarie Dictionary and/or the Australian Oxford Dictionary.

There's some great information in the article which is very useful. However always keep in mind it you're not aware, you don't know what is good advice and what is bad advice. You'll start to absorb some of the bad advice and believe it to be true. That doesn't help you in the long run.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Is the spelling alot or a lot?

I read this rather interesting article today and the final line caught my attention.

"And finally, Butler would like you all to know that “a lot” – as in “I like you a lot” – is TWO words, not one."

Those of you who follow my work will know the dictionary files I create are prescriptive. Why? Simple. I simply want people to be able to easily find the single spelling most people consider correct. We are presented all the time with choices with spelling and I think it is simply easier to use the preferred Australian English spelling rather than a secondary variation.

Now here's the problem with the statement. If we are to accept usage is what determines should or shouldn't be included in the dictionary, then surely the word "alot" should now be included as a secondary variation for the words "a lot". Yes it is an error, but based on usage, around 20% of the population use the spelling "alot".

When referring to a dictionary make sure you read the important tips which let you know a little more about the entry. A word may be slang, colloquial, commonly used in speech, or a secondary variation. These clues are invaluable when using a dictionary.

Given that my work is about creating the best prescriptive spellcheck dictionary for Australians, I do however agree that the spelling is not "alot", at least at this point in time.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.