Apple is an American company. As many of you probably know, Canadian English is different from American English, and closer to British English (e.g. colour instead of color). I use iWork and Microsoft Office for Mac (along with many other applications on OS X), and OS X, nor my iPhone, have an option to switch to Canadian English.

Yes, you can select Canadian English as an input language in the language bar, but any program that uses the central OS X spell checking (from Mail to Office to iWork to Chrome) will check words against an American English dictionary.

I know asking a question that involves an iPhone component is borderline off-topic, but I know on my iPhone I can select British English, but that turns my $ into £ and has a few other weird spelling quirks.

Simple question: Is it possible to make OS X (and maybe the iPhone) use a Canadian English dictionary for its spell checking? Because British English just doesn't cut it anymore. Thanks!

EDIT: Rearranging the order of languages in International Preferences seems to only affect the Finder, not any other application. I will leave Canadian English at the top of the list.

EDIT #2: Chealion's solution works for all the programs that use Cocoa for spell checking, and that covers most of the apps I run. I would suggest doing that in conjunction with rearranging the language order in International Preferences (in Tiger/Leopard) or follow ghoppe's advice for Snow Leopard.

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    Maybe we could get you guys (and the UK) to drop those extra "u"s now in the name of saving the environment... Less toner used when printing! :-) Interesting problem, I always thought Canadien and British used identical spelling AND symbology. – Brian Knoblauch Jun 17 '10 at 15:14
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    @Brian It has to do with pronunciation I guess. I'm just used to using Canadian English spelling. And did you just spell Canadian with an e? Are you French? ;) – squircle Jun 17 '10 at 15:19
  • My understanding on Canadian-vs-British keyboard/spelling/etc was that Canada uses dollars, whereas the UK uses pounds. – warren Jun 17 '10 at 15:42
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    @Brian Knoblauch, maybe we could finally get you guys in the US to embrace the metric system? It'll save a lot of FLOP's not to convert back and forth from [obscure unit] to [rational unit] all the time ;-) – trolle3000 Jun 21 '10 at 17:57
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    I'd love to do the metric switchover here in the states. I've already done it at home. I use metric tools, metric measuring devices, etc. I'm getting real good at conversions since they're required whenever I talk to anybody... :-) I'm still annoyed that the world hasn't dumped our horrible system of time (especially time zones) and gone to an absolute decimal time system. – Brian Knoblauch Jun 22 '10 at 14:56

In Mac OS X 10.6:

  1. Open up System Preferences
  2. Choose the Language and Text Preference Pane
  3. Choose the Text tab
  4. For Spelling, choose Canadian English

Alternatively the instructions for 10.5 and earlier still works as well:

In Mac OS X 10.5 and earlier it's not very obvious:

  1. Open up a Cocoa application such as TextEdit, Pages, etc.
  2. Control/Right Click on some text and choose "Show Spelling and Grammar"
  3. At the bottom there will be a selection of dictionaries - change it to Canadian English

This will only affect applications that use the OS X Dictionary. (eg. Safari, but not Firefox)

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    Also note that there is a bug open to support Canadian English in Chrome for anybody interested. – squircle Jun 21 '10 at 22:29
  • well, I guess this is the best answer I'll get in the next 24 hours. Being a fellow Canadian, you may as well have the bounty :) – squircle Jun 26 '10 at 22:15

System Preferences > Language and Text > Text Tab

There is a spelling popup on the right that says "Spelling" where you can select the dictionary. There is a Canadian English option available. (Snow Leopard tested.)

On my system, I use "Automatic by Language" as the setting, and Canadian English in the language bar, and get the proper spelling for colour/labour etc. in spell checks (cheques, if you're talking about money. HEHEHE.)

Edit: As for iWork, you have to make sure the proper language is selected in your styles. In Pages, for instance, there is a "Canadian English" setting in the text panel, under the "More" tab.

Edit #2 OK, so you don't use Snow Leopard (if your system can handle it, get it! $30 is a bargain.) Here's another option.

Install cocoaspell and a canadian english dictionary is available on the aspell ftp site.

  • @ghoppe Is this in Snow Leopard? I don't see a Language and Text prefpane. – squircle Jun 18 '10 at 0:18
  • @thepurplepixel yes. did you do a custom install without language support perhaps? It was previously called "International" and has an icon that looks like a United Nations Flag… – ghoppe Jun 18 '10 at 0:37
  • @thepurplepixel wait a sec. reading more closely you mention rearranging the languages in the "international preferences" You're not using Snow Leopard then. I presumed you were. – ghoppe Jun 18 '10 at 0:44
  • @ghoppe No worries! Thanks though :) – squircle Jun 18 '10 at 0:52
  • @thepurplepixel Since the canadian dictionary doesn't seem to be available in 10.5, I've updated my answer with an alternative. – ghoppe Jun 21 '10 at 19:38

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