I recently upgraded my emacs to version 24.3.1 on ubuntu (I had a lower 24 version before). I first purged the old version and the installed the current version to get a clean update. Since, then cannot use ispell anymore.

First, I got an error message stating that there is not such function or program. I checked: ispell was installed. I then specified the path to ispell using

setq ispell-program-name. 

Then doing so, I got an error message that permission is denied. So I changed permission (chmod aou+wrx) for the file. Now I get the following error message:

ispell.el exited with code 2. 

This happens whether I evoked ispell-region or ispell-word.

I also installed ispell by hand on my home site-lisp and loaded that fiel, with the same result.

Any suggestions about the meaning of the code would be helpful.

Thanks! Stephan


You should not set the path to ispell.el -- instead the path should be to an executable program like aspell -- e.g.:

(setq-default ispell-program-name "/Users/HOME/.0.data/.0.emacs/elpa/bin/aspell")

You do not need to check to see whether ispell.el is installed because it automatically comes with a full version of Emacs. Instead, you need to install something like aspell if you don't already have it installed. You also need to install the language dictionary used by aspell -- e.g., English dictionary. Here is a link you may find helpful regarding installing aspell on Ubuntu:


Think of ispell.el as a front-end, which has useful functions to operate a separately installed spelling program like aspell -- with a separately installed dictionary database (e.g., English).

  • Thanks -- that worked! Not sure why I did not have to specify this before. – user3321294 Mar 24 '14 at 13:59

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