GNU Aspell

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maintained by Kevin Atkinson (

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GNU Aspell is a Free and Open Source spell checker designed to eventually replace Ispell. It can either be used as a library or as an independent spell checker. Its main feature is that it does a superior job of suggesting possible replacements for a misspelled word than just about any other spell checker out there for the English language. Unlike Ispell, Aspell can also easily check documents in UTF-8 without having to use a special dictionary. Aspell will also do its best to respect the current locale setting. Other advantages over Ispell include support for using multiple dictionaries at once and intelligently handling personal dictionaries when more than one Aspell process is open at once.

Try it out for your self using the Aspell Spell Helper or see some Test Results Comparing Aspell with other spell checkers.

Quick Links


January 29, 2016
Release Candidate 1 for GNU Aspell 0.60.7 is now available. More

December 11, 2016
GNU Aspell has moved to GitHub. All issues from Sourceforge have been moved to GitHub. The old CVS repo is now considered frozen. The current Git repo is a state of flux. Once it stabilizes the master and devel branch will be mirrored on Savannah for safe keeping.

July 4, 2013
GNU Aspell is looking for a co-maintainer. If you're interested, please take a look at this general information about GNU packages and being a GNU maintainer, and then email with a bit about your background and particular interest in this package. More

September 12, 2011
In recent years the development of Aspell has stagnated, but I have never really lost interest in Aspell. The problem was that I just did not know how to move forward in light of Hunspell slower taking the role that I meant for Aspell to take. However, after giving it careful thought I believe Aspell future depends on making Enchant the system spell checker. This will involve some effort on the part of others to make it happen. More (Followup Discussion).

July 4, 2011
GNU Aspell is now available. This is a bug fix release. More.

Aspell 0.60.7 pre-release snapshot now available More.

May 14, 2008
Updated the Test Results page to include recent versions of Aspell and Hunspell and to include total run times.

April 17, 2008
Need Someone to Maintain Aspell Windows Port. More

April 16, 2008
GNU Aspell 0.60.6 is now available. This release improves suggestion results in certain cases and fixes a a number of bugs. More.

November 4, 2007
At long last, the Aspell Spell Helper is working again.

October 15, 2007
New Aspell 0.61 Snapshot Now Available. More

November 20, 2006
Help Needed To Maintain Aspell's Many Dictionaries. More.

November 7, 2004
MS Visual C++ Port Now Available for Aspell 0.60 at More

August 27, 2004
GNU Aspell 0.60 is now available. The two major changes in this release, as compared to 0.50.5, are support for affix compression and better Unicode support. More.

April 15, 2004
Thanks to Joseph Blough a small Win32/Linux GUI for Aspell is now available. More.

March 25, 2004
Mirror for now available.

Older News


The latest version of GNU Aspell is You can find it at or at a GNU mirror site. You will also need to download at least one dictionary which can be found at the same location.

If you are looking for Aspell 0.33.7, Pspell, or dictionaries for Aspell 0.33.7 go here.

A patch for ispell.el for improved Aspell support also available. This patch will notify aspell of the replacements one makes so it can improve the suggestion list in the future. A more involved patch can be found here This one also adds UTF-8 support but will only apply cleanly to Ispell.el 3.7 beta.


Unofficial support for GNU Aspell can be found at the aspell-user mailing list. You do not need to be subscribed in order to post, however if you don't subscribe your post will need to be approved. The list mailing address is Please direct all problems you have with Aspell to this list and not directly to Kevin.

Additional Information

Language Bindings

Getting Involved

The easiest thing you can do help out is to try GNU Aspell out and report bugs or even better submit patches to fix problems. You can either send them to the aspell-devel mailing list or via GitHub.

If you are interested in following the latest developments be sure and subscribe to the aspell-announce mailing list.

If you are a fairly regular user of Aspell consider subscribing to the aspell-user mailing list to help other users out with their problems.

If you are interested in helping with the development of Aspell or have an idea you would like to discuss post it to the aspell-devel mailing list. The aspell-devel mailing list is meant for people interested in the development of the actual Aspell utility/library. If you have a question about how to use the Aspell library please post to the aspell-user mailing list.


If you wish to support Aspell consider donating. Your donation will improve Aspell by encouraging Kevin Atkinson, the main developer of Aspell, to continue to spend his time developing Aspell. Without your support Aspell may go into another period of non-development as was the case for most of 2003.

To Do

Lots of jobs remain to be done. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to do all so if you are interested in helping me with one of these tasks please email me at Good C++ skills are needed for most of these tasks involving coding.

Things that need to be done

These items need to be done before I consider Aspell finished. If you are interested in helping me with one of these tasks please email me. Good C++ skills are needed for most of these tasks involving coding.

Things I would like to get done

I would like to get these done. However, I may still consider Aspell finished with out. They will probably eventually get implemented. However, I could still use help with them.

Sub Projects

Copyright (C) 2016 Kevin Atkinson ( Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.

Be sure to check out my home page.

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