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How to add a Free Medical Spell Checking Dictionary to Word/Firefox

February 26th, 2007 by James · 4 Comments

Spell checking medical documents can be a real pain. My spelling at the best of times is atrocoius atrocious. Luckily most software, even browsers now support spell checking. The problem is now getting hold of a good medical dictionary to use with your application. Now a site which specialises in medical spell checking, medical proformas and PDA software have made a 40 000 word dictionary available for free under the GPL licence. Up until their product for MS word was only available with a $10 single user licence.

The dictionary is US english and despite its size and missing some of my favourite nephrology terms I think it is a start. I will post an addendum of UK English medical terms in due course.

How to Download the dictionary

The dictionary which can be found here {Opens in a new window} should be downloaded, unzipped and saved in a folder. I would suggest saving it in your “My Documents” folder perhaps in a folder called “My Dics”

How To install it in MS Word 2003

Load Word and follow the following menu options

Tools>>Options>> Spelling and Grammar>> Custom Dictionaries>>Add

Browse to the folder you have created, you will need to change the file type filter from *.DIC to *.* and your dictionary will appear.

How to install in Firefox 2

This is a little more complicated. From the Windows taskbar

Start>>Search>>For files and Folders>>"PERSDICT.DAT"

Select the PERSDICT.DAT file, you may have more than one if you share your computer, click on it to open it, if you are asked which program to open it with select WordPad. This is your firefox custom dictionary file. (which will be empty if you have never added any words.) Then open the “OpenMedSpel 100.txt” file which you downloaded in another instance of WordPad and copy all the words by pressing CTRL-A, then CTRL-C, switching to the PERSDICT.DAT file, clicking in the windows pane to gain the application’s focus and pressing CTRL-V. Save the file and you are finished.

To spell check a form in Firefox you can either right click and ask for the form to be spell checked or you can select it from

Tools>>Options>>Advanced>>General>>'Check my spelling as I type'

Other Dictionary Packages

Tags: Free · Medical · Open Source · Software

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 RRobinson // Mar 21, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    We also built an installer for Mozilla Thunderbird and OpenOffice.Org that can be downloaded from our site.

    UK medical terms would be a great addition, and we would love to make a UK version of OpenMedSpel (or perhaps make a joint UK/US dictionary)

  • 2 ramona cameron // Jan 29, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    great site for medical people

  • 3 Giulia // Apr 27, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    As a patient with a passion for medicine, I wish the physicians who care me were able to use a computer like we use a fork to eat !!

    Despite not being a physician myself, I bring this kind of info on a silver plate to the physicians who are caring me (my dear GP, a vivid lady but with great computer phobia ; my psychiatrist who thinks that nerds only live in their bullet and my ENT doctor who fears about switching to Linux, having the greatest phobia of losing his data. Really, they need a nerd around them 😉 )

  • 4 James Hawkins // Nov 9, 2011 at 5:32 pm


    Great site and any news on the development of UK version for us brits!

    Yours hopefully.


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