by Al Sacco

BlackBerry Tip: Add “Slang” to Dictionary to Reduce Unwanted Spell-Check Corrections

Oct 05, 2010
MobileSmall and Medium BusinessSmartphones

Al Sacco explains how to add slang, proper names or misspelled words to your BlackBerry's custom dictionary so they're not flagged during spell-checks.

I’ve been known to offer my readers various BlackBerry tips and tricks. Lots of ’em. Just check out my BlackBerry Bible page on for proof. This week’s tip is basic, but it’s one I simply couldn’t do without.

BlackBerry Spell Check Options Page
BlackBerry Spell Check Options Page

Like many of you, I use various forms of slang on occasion in my daily speech, on Twitter, Facebook, and of course, while typing on my BlackBerry. That’s all fine and good; my friends, coworkers and colleagues mostly know not to expect “perfect” text-book English from meSure, I’m a professional writer, but that’s not how people actually talk, so why should I write that way all the time?

But typing slang on a device that’s programmed to auto-correct “misspelled” words, or words its internal dictionary simply doesn’t recognize, assuming you have the associated setting activated–think: LOL, LMAO, OMG, etc., etc.–can be both frustrating and time-consuming.

BlackBerry spell-check and its “Check Spelling as You Type” option are features I personally could not do without. I type on my BlackBerry very frequently, and very rapidly, and for me, that means a few misspelled words here and there. The built-in BlackBerry spell-check and its associated on-device dictionary have saved me from embarrassment on numerous occasions.

(Note: You can modify BlackBerry spell-check settings by opening up your BlackBerry inbox, clicking the BlackBerry Menu key–located directly to the left of you trackball/trackpad–and then choosing Options. Next, scroll down to Spell Check and select the option then check and/or un-check boxes on the following page according to your personal preferences.)

But the BlackBerry dictionary isn’t perfect; it doesn’t always recognize words its probably should, words that have just recently come into frequent use in the English language, such as “Twitter” or “tweet,” or proper names that aren’t exactly “common.”

Thankfully, the BlackBerry OS has a built-in “Add to Dictionary” feature that lets you simply add frequently used slang, abbreviations, curse words, whatever to your on-device dictionary so the Spell Check While You’re Typing feature won’t try to correct words you don’t want it to.

And adding custom words or slang to your BlackBerry’s dictionary is simple. Just type the word you want to add to the on-device dictionary, and if it’s not already present in that dictionary, your BlackBerry will tell you the word is misspelled by underlining it with dots. Wherever you see a dotted-underline beneath a word, you can scroll over it, click it for the dictionary’s list of suggested corrections and then manually add the word to your dictionary.

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To do so, scroll over and click on a “misspelled” or underlined word, using your trackball/trackpad, and you’ll be presented with a list of possible corrections. Then, instead of selecting a word to replace the one your BlackBerry identified as misspelled, hit your BlackBerry Menu key once more. You’ll then see another menu pop up over the list of suggested words. Simply pick “Add to Dictionary” and you’re good to go; the word that was previously identified as misspelled will no longer be underlined when you type it. If for whatever reason, you mistakenly add a word you don’t want to your dictionary or you want to otherwise remove a word in you dictionary, simply open up your BlackBerry Options–the icon looks like a wrench in default BlackBerry themes–scroll down to and click Spell Check, then open up the Custom Dictionary and highlight and delete the word you wish to remove.

Check out more BlackBerry tips and tricks, for newbies and experts, on my BlackBerry Bible page.


Al Sacco covers Mobile and Wireless for Follow Al on Twitter @ASacco. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline. Email Al at