My name is Jim and I am a horrible writer. (If you’re playing at home, this is where you respond “Hi, Jim” to the screen)
As survival tools go, spell check is a necessity for me. I am constantly awed by my propensity to type incorrectly spelled words and improperly phrased sentences into my blog posts. If I had to describe a superpower that I currently possess, it would be that. Sadly.
As my 12-step introduction may indicate, I am self-aware of my poor writing (I’m not sure if that gives you any solace as you read this). And when I was looking for a spell-check plug-in, I was bummed. There really isn’t a lot out there.
JetPack adds load time to your site
There is JetPack, which is a bloated kitchen sink of a plugin which includes After the Deadline, which used to be the standard standalone spell-checker that most bloggers used. When I say “bloat” I just mean that it adds a lot of load time to your site:
That dark green is the load time that JetPack adds to my site, and the smaller piece of the pie are the other 15 plugins that I use.
If you Google an alternative to JetPack, there are web-based services that charge you based on word count, managed through a WordPress plug-in (that’s more than a little weird), and then there’s TinyMCE.
Better than advertised
TinyMCE Spellcheck plugin is a fork of After the Deadline, meaning that the plugin only does spell checking and is based upon the same spell checker that everyone used before WordPress.com decided to roll it up into JetPack.
Problem solved, right? Yes. But let me explain a couple of quirks:
First, you have to press the spell-check button to have your document spell-checked. Microsoft Word this isn’t. I’m actually glad for this, I feel like real-time spell checking would destroy my already shaky confidence.
Secondly, reviews of this plugin have a small sample size and two negative reviews bring the overall rating down. The problem they are complaining about has since been fixed (and someone was being a little naive or overdramatic by calling it “the worst plugin ever”). What they were frustrated about was that when turned on, the error highlight was done in HTML. I didn’t notice this until I sent an HTML document to an editor with spell-check marked up. That “problem” is now fixed, but if you were ever to encounter a formatting issue in the future the remove all formatting button in the toolbar can fix it in one click:
If there’s a reasonable explanation for you to use JetPack – then you should probably use its spellcheck feature. But if you’re looking for a standalone spellcheck, you can get the same functionality as JetPack’s spellcheck without adding so much load time by using TimeMCE Spellcheck.