I was a little surprised to discover that in LibreOffice (, the spell check doesn't actually work. I was surprised since spell checkers have been around since....80's? Not a difficult thing.

I am running Ubuntu 12.04, on a relatively new install. I haven't done anything to my dictionaries or language files.

Under tools>options>languages> writing aids, I have the option selected to check as I type and to use the English dictionaries.

However, I get no errors when I type spelling mistakes on purpose, and when I run the checker it just says the spell check has completed and closes the window.

Is this a bug with Libre? or have I done something wrong?

  • Do you have auto spell-check enabled. It is located under the 'Window' Drop-down menu.
    – Ryan
    Dec 5, 2012 at 17:13
  • 4
    Ridiculous that is doesn't work out of the box. Apr 19, 2015 at 22:57
  • true, this surely IS "writing aids".
    – phil294
    Dec 5, 2016 at 17:24
  • What's important to realise is that if you are in the UK (For instance), the installer will set your default language to English (UK) but will NOT install English (UK) dictionaries, so you will get no spell-check out of the box. Seems like pretty dumb default behaviour to me.
    – Andy
    Mar 26, 2021 at 11:59

7 Answers 7


A quick fix for the current document (assuming English text) is Tools - Language - For All Text - English (USA).

I think the permanent fix is to make sure that the default language used for documents is supported by an installed dictionary. This solution has been documented by "idiota" on LibreOffice's questions forum:

"The problem is fixed by clicking Tools/Options/Language Settings/Languages. It allows dozens of flavours of English, BUT spelling is disabled for all the ones that don't have the little blue tick ABC icon beside them."


  • 4
    Hoisted on my own sense of patriotism! I was set on English (Canadian), which doesn't have a dictionary apparently. English US works fine. Thanks.
    – Michael
    Oct 22, 2012 at 1:16
  • 1
    This was it! I wouldn't have chosen Canadian had I known that it would disable spellcheck.
    – revnoah
    Aug 27, 2013 at 21:26
  • 1
    Indeed, the comment on that site of sudo apt-get install myspell-en-gb fixed it for me.
    – sil
    May 12, 2017 at 17:18

When choosing your language do you see the check besides it?enter image description here

If not then open up "Language Support" and click on "Install / Remove Languages..." and install the language you want and close LibreOffice and try again.

  • 3
    Where is "language support?"
    – Rabbit
    Oct 20, 2015 at 18:01
  • 3
    You should find it by searching "Language Support" in the Unity Dash, otherwise it's in the "System Settings". You could also open it via terminal by writing "gnome-language-selector" and pressing enter.
    – Jeggy
    Oct 20, 2015 at 18:38
  • 1
    yeah, "Language Support" is not a LibreOffice feature/menu, but coming from Ubuntu itself.
    – mnagel
    Apr 1, 2016 at 9:06
  • This seems like terrible usability design. If none of the languages had any checkmarks, I don’t see how anyone would expect that they would need something like checkmarks next to them. Aug 2, 2017 at 11:43

To install the spell check packages for English and USA the terminal commands are:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install myspell-en-gb myspell-en-us


  • If you already have installed hunspell-en-gb then you have to remove it to install myspell-en-gb.
  • If you already have installed hunspell-en-us then you have to remove it to install myspell-en-us.
  • 1
    your link may answer the question precisely but as per rules of AU you should have to mention either full or part of the answer.
    – Raja G
    Aug 19, 2013 at 12:14
  • Regarding the note, if you have hunspell installed then you don't need to install myspell anyway...
    – OJFord
    Aug 29, 2016 at 21:38
  • 1
    myspell-en-us is no longer available for me on Ubuntu 17.10
    – Patrick
    Feb 13, 2018 at 0:11

Install the following:

sudo apt-get install myspell-en-us

Now restart the office suite to make the spell check work. Hope this helps

  • +1 this is the only answer that worked in my case
    – user000001
    Jan 3, 2017 at 18:09

In my case the spell-check option to enable my language of choice was not present.

The dictionaries were installed so the problem was with the office program.

This was remedied by the following :

  1. killall soffice.bin

  2. rm -r .config/libreoffice/

  3. Start LibreOffice & go to Tools->Options-> Language Settings -> Default language for documents: English UK (now with spell check icon)

PS: For English UK I have libreoffice-l10n-en-gb and myspell-en-gb installed.

  • Worked for me. I had an old config folder from previous installations.
    – Morlock
    Oct 17, 2017 at 13:48

Go to -> tools-> options-> languages-> western. Then set the western language as English usa as it is enabled with spell checking.


If you've chosen anything other than English (USA), it'll likely not have spellcheck available.

That's the A with green dots seen here:

enter image description here

If you need a GB, AU, CA or ZA English variant, install the English Dictionaries extension.

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