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Getting the Most Out of FrameMaker's Spelling Checker Site Dictionary

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  1. How FrameMaker's Dictionaries Work
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A centrally located spelling checker dictionary is the perfect tool for working on a set of documents with a workgroup. FrameMaker’s site dictionary is just one of four dictionaries that is used to solve your spelling problems in documents. Learn how to set up and add words to a site dictionary to get unique words and terms that are spelled correctly every time.
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Where would we be without electronic spelling checkers? We use them so often; we can't imagine life without one. Like all modern day conveniences, someone who recognized the need invented spell checking. The basic concept of spell check was patented in 1976. Over the years, new inventions and developments continued to improve upon the simple concept of spell check with the addition of many more automation features such as customized document dictionaries and various spell-checking options.

Which brings us to the present age of sophisticated spelling checkers, just like the full-featured spelling checker included in FrameMaker 6. Before you go off on your next quest to correct all misspelled words, take a few minutes to learn how to get the most out of using FrameMaker's Spelling Checker Site Dictionary.

The site dictionary is your best friend if you are working with a group on a set of documents. Everyone working on the same documentation project can access the same dictionary. This is especially helpful when unique words, names, and terms are scattered throughout a set of documents.

How FrameMaker's Dictionaries Work

In a nutshell, each time you spell check a document, the words in the document are compared to other words in a master list of correctly spelled words, also known as a dictionary.

FrameMaker's spelling checker compares the words in a document to words in several dictionaries at the same time. Each dictionary has a specific job in a document. The following list provides an overview of how each dictionary works to correct your misspelled words:

  • Main—An uneditable dictionary containing words found in a standard dictionary. The bulk of words in any document are compared against this dictionary.

  • Site—Used mainly for technical terms that are universal to your workgroup. The default site dictionary comes supplied with some technical terms, but you can add more as needed by your workgroup. The site dictionary is used for any document.

  • Personal—Used for frequently used words that are not common to a standard dictionary or the other two dictionaries. Your personal dictionary may contain words such as your first and last name. You can have more than one personal dictionary, and use them as needed. You can add or delete words with this dictionary. This dictionary is used with any document.

  • Document—Each document has its own dictionary that is not a separate file like the other dictionaries. You can use this dictionary to add or delete words. This dictionary is used when you allow certain words in a particular document but not in other documents.

Working with the Site Dictionary

The site dictionary is the perfect solution when working with a group on a set of documents. If there are technical terms or other words that are unique to a set of documents, you can add those words to one site dictionary that is accessed by everyone working on the set of documents. This saves you the trouble of adding those unique words to each user's FrameMaker dictionary individually.

A typical workgroup scenario that benefits from using a site dictionary is one in which FrameMaker document files are stored and accessed from a file server over a network. Each user transfers a file to their workstation to work on. When finished, each user transfers the file back to its original location.

Using a site dictionary involves a two-step process. First, you must assign each individual user's computer to access the central site dictionary. Next, you must add the words to the dictionary that are unique to the documents.

Change to a Central Location for a Site Dictionary


FrameMaker is available on many hardware platforms. This article focuses on the Windows operating system.

When FrameMaker is installed on individual workstations, the site dictionary is located at FrameMaker 6.0\dict\site.dct by default. If you are working over a network, find a central location that everyone working on the project can access over the network. Usually, the site administrator performs this function. Let's say that the new location for the site dictionary is on drive F, file folder path FrameMaker\project1\site.dct. The following steps show you how to set each user's FrameMaker application to access the same site dictionary over a network:

  1. On each individual workstation, locate and open the Maker.ini file. You can open this file with Notepad or any text editor. The Maker.ini file is usually located in the FrameMaker 6.0 file folder. If you have trouble finding it, select Start, Find, Files or Folders, and type Maker.ini in the search field.

  2. With the Maker.ini file open, look for a line that reads SiteDictionary=dict\site.dct (see Figure 1).

  3. Change the path after the equal sign (=) to the new location of the site dictionary. Using our example, change the line to SiteDictionary=F:\FrameMaker\project1\site.dct.

  4. Save the file. The new site dictionary is ready for use by an individual workstation on the network.

    Figure 1 Open the Maker.ini file, and change the file location path for SiteDictionary.

Add Words to a Site Dictionary

Although the site dictionary comes supplied with a few technical terms, you'll want to add many more that are unique to your company, industry, or project.

You can accomplish this task using three methods. Choose the method that works best for you or use a combination of all three.

Add Words One by One

If you spell check a document, and find that the document contains many unique words that are flagged as misspelled, you can add each of those words to the site dictionary as they are flagged in the document.

To add words one by one:

  1. Select Edit, Spelling Checker. The Spelling Checker window is displayed.

  2. Click the Dictionaries button. The Dictionaries Function window appears.

  3. Select Change Dictionary from the Personal Dictionary pull-down menu (see Figure 2). Click the OK button. The Use File for Personal Dictionary window is displayed.

    Figure 2 You can switch the current Personal Dictionary from the Dictionaries Function window.

  4. Navigate to the centrally located site dictionary file. The name of the site dictionary is site.dct. Select site.dct, and click the Use button. You are returned to the FrameMaker document window with the Spelling Checker window in view. The site dictionary is temporarily set as your personal dictionary for the purpose of adding unique words to the site dictionary on the fly.

  5. Click the Start Checking button in the Spelling Checker window. The spelling checker begins scanning the document for misspelled words. If a word appears in the text box labeled Misspelling? and you want to add it to your site dictionary, click the Learn button (see Figure 3). The word is added to the site dictionary.

    Figure 3 If the word you want to add to the dictionary appears in the Misspelling? text box, click the Learn button.

  6. When you are finished, switch your personal dictionary from the site dictionary back to the original personal dictionary. Repeat steps 1–3 above and then navigate to your personal dictionary file. Select the personal dictionary file, usually named user.dct, and click the Use button. The site dictionary is no longer being temporarily used as a personal dictionary.

Add Words by Typing in a File

If you have a list of unique words handy that are used in documents, you can easily add them to the site dictionary by typing the words directly into the file.

Follow these steps to add words by typing directly into a site dictionary file:

  1. Open the Notepad application. Notepad is a text editor that is included with Windows-based computer systems.

  2. Select File, Open. Select All Files from the Files of Type pull-down menu.

  3. Navigate to the location of the site dictionary (site.dct), and click one time to select it. site.dct is inserted in the File Name field.

  4. Click the Open button. The site dictionary file opens.

  5. Type the words that you want to include in the site dictionary. Each word must be on a line by itself. Press the Enter key one time after each entry.

  6. When you have finished, save the file with the same filename and extension in the same location.

  7. If FrameMaker was open while you performed this task, close FrameMaker. Start FrameMaker again, open a file, and perform a spell check to test out the new words you added to the site dictionary.


FrameMaker automatically compares words in your document to words in the site dictionary. The site dictionary location is determined in the Maker.ini file.

Add Words by Merging Files

Here is yet another method you can use to add words to a site dictionary. This method works well if you have a large number of words that you don't want to add one at a time. In order to use this method, you first have to find and open a FrameMaker document that already includes most of the unique words you want to add to the site dictionary.

Follow these steps to add words by merging files:

  1. Open a FrameMaker document that you know contains a large number of unique words that you want to add to the site dictionary.

  2. Select Edit, Spelling Checker. The Spelling Checker window is displayed.

  3. Click the Dictionaries button. The Dictionaries Function window appears.

  4. Select the radio button next to Write All Unknown Words to File. Then click OK. The Store Spell-checking Results in File window is displayed.

  5. Type Sitetemp in the File name field. Set Files of Type to All Files. Click the OK button. A FrameMaker alert window appears with information about unknown words found in the document. If unknown words were found in the document, the alert message includes the number of words that were added to the assigned file. Click OK to return to the document window.

After the words are included in the Sitetemp file, you can merge this file with the site.dct file, and save yourself some typing time. Here's how to do it:

  1. Select Edit, Spelling Checker. Click the Dictionaries button to display the Dictionaries Function window.

  2. Change the Personal Dictionary to the site dictionary file. You are returned to the document window when you have finished.

  3. Go back to the Dictionaries Functions window, and select Merge From File from the Personal Dictionaries pull-down menu. Click the OK button. The Merge File into Personal Dictionary window appears. (Remember, you have temporarily set the site dictionary as the personal dictionary.)

  4. Navigate to the Sitetemp file that you set up in the previous exercise. Select the filename in the list, and click the Merge button. You are returned to the document window. The words in the Sitetemp file are merged with the words in the site.dct file.

  5. Go back to the Dictionaries Functions window, and set your real personal dictionary file as the personal dictionary file.

After you have completed these steps, the site dictionary includes the words that were written to the temporary file, and you switched your personal dictionary back to the original filename.

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