Menu Home

Pidgin Windows Spellcheck

Last Update: Oh good grief. Pidgin spell check works fine and it was an aspell issue all along. The file aspell.exe needs to be in your PATH.

Install Pidgin 2.2.2 and make sure you install the language you need. That will kick off Aspell and the dictionary. Once the installation is done go to the control panel. In Vista it’s “System and Mantenance” then click on Advanced system settings.

Vista environment settings

Click on Environment Variables and modify the Path environment variable. BE CAREFUL not to mess up that settings as it could do bad things to your system.

When you edit the PATH variable, append to the end of it with a semicolon the path of your aspell.exe. On my system I added to the end “;C:Program Files (x86)Aspellbin”.

That’s all there is to it.

Spell check now works in Pidgin

This is probably documented somewhere but hey as long as it works…

Update: Spell check for Pidgin 2.2.2 (current as I type this) does not work on my installation. I believe the problem is that pidgin is looking for Aspellbin in the wrong directory but that’s just a guess on my part. If I can get it to work on my Vista 64 installation and reproduce it, I’ll post it here.

In order to get the Windows version of Pidgin spell check working, go to and get the full installer as well as the pre-compiled dictionary.

Categories: Geek Software

Tagged as:

Jan Dembowski

20 replies

  1. With Pidgin installed (it’s currently at version 2.0.2 from their website) download Aspell for Windows and run the installer. The link to the Aspell installer is here.

    For the English language get aspell-en-0.50-2-3.exe

    and run that installer too. If all goes well then you should be able to launch Pidgin and when you misspell words a red zig zag line should appear underneath it.

    Hope that helps,

    Jan Dembowski

  2. To explicitly state what is lacking in the post:

    Pidgin uses the GTK system to handle its spell checking. What you do is install the aSpell system for GTK, and then Pidgin should just automatically pick up on it. I’m not getting little red zigs just yet tho.

  3. Chris,

    That is true: Pidgin uses gtkspell 2 per pidgin’s website.

    Since I have switched to Vista 64 I have no longer been able to get Pidgin to work with spell check. Aspell works fine; I think that I’m having gtkspell issues.

    I’ve been busy but I’ll try to take a hard look at getting it working this weekend and will post the results here.

    Jan Dembowski

  4. The bin file is not available when I attempt to add the path “C:Program FilesAspellbin”. I have “dict” and “data” to pick from and spell check does not work with either one. Any suggestions?

  5. Have you been able to locate aspell.exe?

    On your system where ever aspell.exe was placed, that’s where you want to add your path.

    Once the path to aspell.exe is added, open up a Command Prompt just type aspell.exe and hit return.

    If you get the aspell help text then you should be good to go.

    If you don’t get the aspell text, try uninstalling pidgin and re-installing with default options turned on.

    Hope that helps,

    Jan Dembowski

  6. I downloaded the lastest version of pidgin which is currently 2.4 and that resolved whatever the issue was. I should note that before I did the new install I removed all of pidgin and aspell (deleted registry). I had tried that in the past and just re-installed the older version of pidgin but had no success.


  7. Even easier: On XP I noticed that if I just downloaded the latest Pidgin installer, ran it again and when the “Choose Components” part came up, I
    chose “English” in the list under “Spellchecking Support.”

  8. Ricky,

    As far as I know, the translation function is not available for MSN Live. I use software on my blog to produce translated versions of my pages.

    You may want to search Google for MSN Live translations.


    Jan Dembowski

    Using Google Translate (I apologize for the bad Spanish):


    Por lo que sé, la traducción función no está disponible para MSN Live. Uso de software en mi blog para producir versiones traducidas de mis páginas.

    Si lo desea, puede buscar en Google para MSN Live traducciones.


    Jan Dembowski

  9. Just came across your post. The fix worked for me. Many thanks. I only use Pidgin because of the spell checker and it wasn’t working on my Vista 64 until I implemented your fix.

  10. Anyone know how to get Hebrew spellcheck working on Windows?

    I am currently running Pidgin 2.5.8 on Windows XP. English spellcheck works fine.

    The Pidgin installer did not offer Hebrew as one of its spellcheck language options.

    An Aspell dictionary tarball for Hebrew (and for many other languages!) is available at .

    [1] this is meant for Aspell 0.60 — not the version 0.50.3 that gets installed with Pidgin for Windows.
    [2] a lesser problem is that no Windows installer is available for this dictionary, in contrast to the installers available at .

    So, maybe the question becomes: has anyone published a Windows installer for the latest version of Aspell — currently 0.60.6 ?

  11. How do you make the spell check case insensitive? I tried putting
    ‘ignore-case true’ in “c:program filesaspellaspell.conf”.
    ‘aspell dump config’ says it’s there, but pidgin still says ‘ok’ is wrong.

    1. Tam, Sorry for not getting back to you. I’ve never tried modifying the aspell.conf file, so I’m not sure what the problem might be.

  12. Is this still relevant as of Pidgin 2.7.0, where they have changed to OpenOffice dictionaries? I still can’t get my spell check working.

  13. this is one more way to make it work ….

    Yes, if the installer isn’t able to successfully download and install the dictionaries, you can do so manually.

    Versions 2.7.0 and newer use the dictionaries available from the openoffice extension download site. You need to download the appropriate language extension file(s) (files are openoffice extensions *.oxt, which are just zip files that contain additional data). Once you have downloaded a dictionary extension file, you can rename it so it has a .zip extension and then extract the *.dic and *.aff files in it to spellcheckshareenchantmyspell (create the directories if they don’t exist already).
    If Pidgin is running, it will need to be restarted for new dictionaries to be recognized.

    Versions older than 2.7.0 use Aspell; you can download both the Aspell core and a dictionary from the win32 Aspell website.

    1. Swapnil,

      Thank you for this information, I’m sure that will help someone.

      To be honest, I’m always surprised that this post gets so many hits. It was written in 2007. 😉