Performing Spell Check using a blue tooth keyboard

iOS & iPadOS

I often write in the notes app or in mail using a blue tooth keyboard when on the road using my iPhone 6.

VoiceOver will tell me when a word is mis-spelled, but I can't seem to bring up the list of spelling suggestions. I been told to type in the word with a space, hear VoiceOver say "mis-spelled", and then I do a backspace until I hear the word.

My understanding was at this point I should be able to access a list of possible correctly spelled words. Is this correct or does this only word in apps like Pages and Word? What am I doing wrong? Is it even possible to get a list of mis-spelled words using the blue tooth board instead of the on-screen keyboard?

Thanks for any suggestions on how to correct spelling more efficiently.




Submitted by Lysette Chaproniere on Sunday, October 2, 2016

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I know there are various guides around the site on how to do this, but I've never quite managed to get it to work. I've found that voiceover isn't even particularly reliable with reporting misspelled words. I have a few workarounds, none of which are ideal, and most of which involve buying apps:

1. Paste the text into Voice Dream Writer: this is the best and easiest way to do it, because it presents you with a list of misspelled words and suggested corrections. The problem with this method is that if you're not already using Voice Dream Writer to write your text, you need to copy the text into it, check it and then copy the corrected text into whichever app you were writing in. But if you don't mind doing all that copying and pasting, or using Voice Dream Writer to write everything, that's the best solution I know of.

2. Copy your text into Ginger: Ginger is a dedicated spelling/grammar checker which will present you with corrections for each misspelled word; as with Voice Dream Writer, you don't need to rely on voiceover finding misspelled words. However, although this app is usable with voiceover, it has some accessibility quirks and I wouldn't particularly recommend it. Button labelling could be a lot better, though it's not especially difficult to work out what each one is for, especially if you experiment. Last time I used it I had some issues with menu items not activating until I turned voiceover off and on again. The main issue with it, though, is that it doesn't indicate which word is being corrected, only the suggested correction; whereas Voice Dream Writer reads the misspelled word, the full sentence and then allows you to use the word finder to select the right word, Ginger just presents a list of corrections with no voiceover-accessible way of indicating which word is being corrected. You'd need to copy your text into and out of it as it's not really designed for sustained writing sessions. If you don't mind dealing with those issues, though, and especially if you want grammar checking as well as spelling, it's another option.

3. Workflow/ Drafts + Terminology: If you have the workflow app, it has a "correct spelling" action which will auto correct the spelling of any text passed into it. I've set up a workflow which will get the text from the clipboard, correct it and then copy the corrected text to the clipboard. In the note taking app Drafts, I've set up an action which will send the text of the draft I'm working on to workflow to be corrected, then send the corrected text back to Drafts, with no copying/pasting needed if you're already using Drafts to write with. The problem with that method is that it'll just auto correct everything without confirming that the word it thinks you want is the right one, but it should work reasonably well if your spelling is fairly good already but you just want the assurance that you're getting everything absolutely right. (Note: it corrects to American English). I have another action in Drafts which will send the selected word to the dictionary/thesaurus app Terminology, and allow a replacement word to be selected. This is useful for checking individual words and making sure you've got the right homophone, but it's not a way of checking the entire document for errors. Also note that all of this needs to be set up; the actions and workflows I'm talking about don't come with the apps by default.

4. A few default iOS ideas: if you don't already have these apps and don't want to buy them, you could use the predictive text feature to finish off a word you've started typing, as a way to make sure it's spelled correctly (if you're using a bluetooth keyboard, you'll need to turn on the on-screen keyboard to access predictions), using the spelling suggestions in Braille screen input by swiping up and down after you've typed a word (you have to do this as you're typing; you can't review word by word after you've finished), dictating or asking Siri to spell any words you're unsure of.

I hope that helps; maybe you knew some of that already, but if so, hopefully it'll be helpful to someone who didn't.

Submitted by Tina on Thursday, September 26, 2019

A friend and I are having a similar discussion. My friend has a PC, but is lacking a home wireless network, so she needs to work near a public wi-fi setting in order to use the PC, I've noticed that whenever she's been sending e-mails out to various lists on her phone that certain words are consistently misspelled. Unfortunately, she doesn't see this until someone points it out to her.

Bottom line: It seems that there is not really a very efficient way to correct misspelled words in an edit field within the mail app on the iPhone. Whenever my friend is on her computer, she can quickly locate misspelled words and make corrections. However, she can't do this on her phone.

So is there any app that works well with voice-over that will giver the benefits of her computer's spell checker on her iPhone? My friend is using an iPhone SE with iOS 12.4.1. Thanks.

Submitted by peter on Thursday, September 26, 2019

When I use a bluetooth keyboard to type mail messages on my iPhone I highlight the word in question and then set the rotor to "Misspelled Word". Double tap that and then you can flick to word suggestions.

To find the misspelled words, just arrow through a message and VoiceOver will announce "misspelled word" as you read the document. I believe it will also announce "misspelled" as you type a word incorrectly.