MTSpeling is a Movable Type plugin by Alexei Kosut to add spell-checking capabilities to a Movable Type weblog. It adds a global filter that allows any template tag output to be spell-checked, and provides tags for fully-customizable suggestion output.


Current version: 0.2

Installing MTSpeling


  • Movable Type. I have only tested with version 2.51, although others may work.
  • International Ispell 3.1 or later.
  • Lingua::Ispell. This is a Perl module to access Ispell from Perl. It must be installed in your site’s Perl installation or the Movable Type extlib directory.


  1. Copy into your Movable Type plugins directory.
  2. Edit if necessary with your configuration information. You will need to know the full path location of the ispell binary on your system.


Global tag attribute: check_spelling

Add the check_spelling attribute to any Movable Type template tag to check its spelling. Pass a value of “1” to make red any term not in the dictionary (by adding an HTML font tag). For example, to display the body of an entry with misspelled words in red, you might use:

<$MTEntryBody check_spelling=”1”$>

Use an attribute value of “2” to wrap misspelled words with a <span class="spellingerror"> tag, which allows you to customize the display with a style sheet. To check spelling, but leave the tag’s output unmodified use a value of “0”.

Each tag that is spell-checked will add to the results available using the <MTSpellingResults> tag. Following </MTSpellingResults>, the results will be cleared for future uses.

Spelling Suggestion Tags

The following tags are available for use in displaying the results of spelling suggestions (see the Movable Type manual for information on the use of template tags). These results will include misspelled words from each prior use of the check_spelling attribute.

  • MTSpellingIfErrors
    A container tag: the contents of this container will be displayed if there has been at least one spelling error. This allows the spelling results to be displayed only if there has been a misspelling.
  • MTSpellingResults
    A container tag representing a list of spelling results, one for each misspelled word in previous uses of the check_spelling attribute. Each of the following tags are used to display a particular piece of information about a suggestion.
  • MTSpellingResultTerm
    The term that was misspelled.
  • MTSpellingResultIfSuggestions
    A container tag: the contents of this container will be displayed if the plugin has suggestions for the current misspelled term. If the word was not in the dictionary, but suggestions are not available, the contents will not be displayed.
  • MTSpellingResultUnlessSuggestions
    A container tag: the contents of this container will be displayed if the plugin has no suggestions for the current misspelled term. If the word was not in the dictionary, but suggestions are not available, the contents will be displayed.
  • MTSpellingResultSuggestions
    A container tag representing a list of suggestions for the current term.
  • MTSpellingSuggestion
    Used inside a <MTSpellingResultSuggestions> container, represents a suggestion for the current term.


The following template HTML code will display a comment preview with misspelled words displayed in red, followed by suggestions:

<$MTCommentPreviewBody check_spelling="1"$>
<h4>Spelling Suggestions</h4>
<tr><th align="left"><$MTSpellingResultTerm$></th>
<em>No suggestions</em>

You might use code similar to this in the comment preview template to provide spell-checking for comments.

Spell-checking Weblog Entries

You can add spell-checking to comment previews by modifying the comment preview template, as shown above. However, since Movable Type does not provide access to the templates use to generate the content management system, adding spell-checking to the entry preview requires modifying the Movable Type software, as follows:

  1. Locate in the lib/MT/App subdirectory of your Movable Type installation.
  2. Find the preview_entry subroutine, and the location where the $preview_code variable is set. This will be line 2034 in Movable Type 2.51.
  3. Replace the $preview_code initialization (the lines before HTML) with your new HTML, including any template tags to display spell-checking information.
  4. (Optional) You may wish to make use of the <$MTInclude$> tag, to place your spell-checking code in a module that can be included from several places. To make the <$MTInclude$> tag work, you will first need to add the following line of Perl code above the $preview_code initialization:
        $ctx->stash('blog_id', $blog_id);

Don’t forget to make a backup copy of your Movable Type software before making changes, as modifications could make your weblog inaccessible!

Using a personal dictionary

MTSpeling provides support for a personal dictionary of words that it will treat as spelled correctly, stored as a cookie on the user’s web browser. The only support in the plugin is to be able to read and parse the spelling-dict cookie as a colon-seperated list of words. If you want to make use of this, you’ll have to write your own code to create and add to this cookie. In my weblog, I use JavaScript to provide an ‛add to dict“ link in the list of spelling suggestions that adds a word to this cookie. You could also write a server-side script to do something similar.

There is no current support in the plugin for dictionaries stored anywhere other than as a cookie in the browser.

Version History


  • Initial release

Known Bugs

  • The name is an awful pun. Years ago, I added it to Apache, and now I introduce it to Movable Type. It will not be changed.

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