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Dictionary Settings

Additional Dictionary Folders

This option lets you define a set of additional folders to search for dictionary files, both complete dictionaries (dictionary and affix file pairs) or just user dictionaries. Enter the name of a folder or click the "..." button to select a folder. Relative paths are considered to be relative to the configuration file's location. For the global configuration, the paths should always be fully qualified. For solution, project, folder, and file-specific settings files, the folders should typically be relative so that if the solution or project moves, the dictionary files can still be found. You are prompted when adding a folder if you would like to make it relative to the current configuration file. Environment variable references such as %USERPROFILE%\OneDrive\Dictionaries are supported.

Once a folder has been added, the Language(s) combo box will be updated to contain any additional languages for dictionaries found in the new folder. Any user dictionaries found will replace the default user dictionaries associated with the related languages. This allows you to use the standard package dictionary but store the user dictionary within a solution or project. To provide consistent access to custom dictionaries and user dictionaries, non-global configuration files will automatically include any additional folders inherited from parent configuration files within the editor.

You can determine the type and location of the language dictionary and user dictionary by looking at the labels below the user dictionary list box. The left-hand label displays "Package dictionary" for a standard dictionary supplied with the package or "Custom dictionary" for a custom dictionary. The right-hand label displays "Standard user dictionary" for a user dictionary located in the local application data folder or one stored with the custom dictionary. It displays "Alternate user dictionary" for a user dictionary stored in some other location such as a solution or project folder. Hover over either label for a tool tip that shows the folder containing the language or user dictionary.

To remove a folder, select it in the list and click the Remove button. To clear the list of all additional folders, click the Clear button.

For non-global settings, an option is available to inherit the additional dictionary folders from configurations above the current one. If enabled, any additional folders in the current configuration are added to those. If disabled, the settings in the current configuration will replace the inherited list of folders. If not inherited and the list is left empty, it effectively clears the list of additional dictionary folders. In such a case, only the default dictionaries supplied with the package will be available for use.

Important note Important

Dictionaries are global resources and are cached for reuse when subsequent files are opened within the same solution. If you make changes to the dictionary locations used in a configuration, you must close and reopen the solution to ensure that the dictionary location changes take effect.

Since they are a global resource, user dictionaries are best specified at the solution file level if used. They can be placed at the project level if there is only a single project in the solution. If you have multiple project-specific dictionaries, only the first project that creates the dictionary will get it's project-specific dictionary added to it and it will be used across all projects since they are all using the same dictionary. Since subsequent projects will not create the dictionary any user dictionaries in their configurations are ignored. Likewise, if a solution configuration contains a user dictionary and a project contains a user dictionary, the project user dictionary would override the solution-level one rather than being additive to it.


This option defines one or more languages to use for spell checking. The package comes with several dictionaries for various languages. Custom dictionaries can also be added and will be selectable here once installed.

In order to use a specific language, select it in the combo box and click the Add button to add it to the list. In the absence of a specific selection, the default English US language will be used for the global configuration. For non-global solutions, the inherited language selections will be used.

To add additional languages, select each in the combo box and click the Add button. When spell checking is performed, the dictionaries will be checked in the order given. If your files are written predominantly in a particular language, you can use the Move Up and Move Down buttons to alter the language order so that the most common language is checked first followed by any others. Click the Remove button to remove an unwanted language.

For non-global configurations, an additional Inherited option will appear in the list of selections. This can be used to specify that the inherited languages should be included. The inherited languages will be checked in the order they appear in the list. For example, if you make French the primary language and then add the Inherited option, the French dictionary will be checked first followed by any inherited dictionary languages such as English US. If the inherited option is not added to the list, only the selected languages will be used (French alone in the example above).

Important note Important

Adding multiple dictionaries will add extra overhead to the spell checking process and will cause additional memory usage. Only add extra languages when necessary. Consider using solution or project configurations rather than specifying them in the global configuration.

Determine Localized Resource File Language from the Filename

This option allows you to specify whether or not to determine the dictionary language for localized resource files based on their filename. For example, if the file is opened in the XML file editor, the German language dictionary will be selected and used automatically if available regardless of any other languages that have been selected.

Note Note

If this option is enabled, it will override all other dictionary languages. The determined language will be the only one used for spell checking the resource file.

User Dictionary

This option lets you see the content of the current user dictionary and remove unwanted items. User dictionaries are language-specific and are associated with the currently selected language. As such, the content of the list box will be updated when a different language is chosen in the Language(s) combo box or the list of selected languages to use for spell checking. To remove an entry, select it in the list and click the Remove button.

The Import button can be used to import a custom dictionary file. The Export button can be used to export the custom dictionary to a file for sharing. Words can be imported from text files, XML user dictionary files used by code analysis and StyleCop, and from StyleCop settings files. Words can be exported to text files or XML user dictionary files. When importing words from an XML user dictionary file, only words without a Spelling attribute or ones on which it is set to Add will be imported. When exported, the Spelling attribute is set to Add for any words added to or updated in the file. When importing or exporting words, you will be asked whether you want to replace the list of words or merge them with the existing words.

As noted above, the labels below the user dictionary list box can be used to determine the type and location of the language dictionary and the user dictionary. Hover over either label to show a tool tip containing the location of the dictionary. By default, user dictionary files are stored in the same folder as the dictionaries with which they are associated. Typically this will be the local application data folder for custom dictionaries and those supplied with the package. They are named after the associated language with an _User suffix and a .dic extension (i.e. en-US_User.dic).

If you would prefer to store the user dictionaries in an alternate location, create an empty file using the naming convention above or copy an existing user dictionary to your preferred location. Add the folder to the Additional Dictionary Folders list. You should then see the user dictionary label change to "Alternate user dictionary" for the affected languages. The folder shown when hovering over the label should be the location in which you stored the user dictionary file.

This is useful if you want to store the user dictionaries in a location that you can back up such as your My Documents folder rather than the default local application data folder. To do this, copy the user dictionaries to your My Documents folder and add it to the global configuration.

By adding the user dictionary to a solution or project and adding a reference to the root folder (.\) in the solution or project configuration file, you can store user dictionaries with the solution or project so that they can be checked in to source control. This allows you to share the user dictionary for the project amongst your team members while continuing to use the language dictionary supplied with the package. It also allows for project-specific user dictionaries without having to copy the same language dictionary into each project especially if using one supplied with the package.

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