I'm writing and correcting API documentation in Sphinx using reStructuredText. Does anyone know of a good spellchecker that will handle this format, or a bunch of Unix/Linux tools that will allow me to use Aspell with it?

2 Answers 2


There's a Sphinx extension for spell checking. It uses enchant, rather than aspell, but perhaps you might find it useful.


(formerly https://bitbucket.org/dhellmann/sphinxcontrib-spelling)

there's a blog article about it here:


which explains how the extension was created, so if you're set on/stuck with using aspell specifically, maybe you can adapt it to aspell.

  • This can only be used for sphinx projects, not for standalone rST files.
    – cweiske
    May 11, 2017 at 8:32

Since aspell has options for checking HTML and TeX files, you can spell-check some HTML or Tex produced by Sphinx. I imagine you could also use aspell on text output from Sphinx - assuming that removes any mark-up (e.g. asterisks) that might confuse aspell .

  • What would the command line be for checking a single file interactively?
    – Fred Foo
    May 22, 2011 at 17:18
  • aspell check [options] filename according to the manual May 22, 2011 at 17:19
  • I meant the Sphinx command. I can only find the command for building an entire directory full of files, rather than turning a single file into flat text.
    – Fred Foo
    May 22, 2011 at 18:29
  • I need to install aspell-en (archlinux) to fix the error Error: No word lists can be found for the language "en_US". On other package managers it is listed as en-aspell. Nov 27, 2016 at 10:23
  • I'm not attached to any particular checker. I tried aspell. When I ran it with right-click "Send To" it created a zero-length file with the extension ".new," although the input contained many proprietary terms it couldn't have recognized. When I ran it from the command line I found that the installer didn't add it to the system path; when I got around that it gave the error "No word lists can be found." /// Apparently some hacking is needed to raise it to the "kick it and it moves" level. I'll investigate further when I have time, but my expectations are low; so far it gets an "F" for finish. Sep 19, 2021 at 15:03

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