Freespell is a memory-resident spell-checker that can be be invoked through a hotkey combination from within any application. It uses the Aspell open source engine.

Here’s how this progam works: From any application, select the text that you would like to spell-check and press the hotkey combination (Windows Key+Z by default). A DOS-based window will appear (see screenshot).

It will serially highlight all misspelled words and will offer all the usual spelling checker options (a list of suggestions for misspelled words, ignore, ignore-all, replace, replace-all, add, and add lower). That’s all; fast and simple.

Things I like about this program:

  • Provides solid and reliable spelling checking functionality
  • Can be used anytime, anywhere, from any application.
  • Is 100% free.

Things that could be improved:

  • The program does not minimize to the system tray, and its somewhat annoying to have the ’Freespell’ window minimized to the taskbar at all times. You could work around this by using a program like TrayIt to make Freespell minimize to the system tray, but I do find it strange that the makers of Freespell did not address this.
  • Dismissing the Freespell dialog is supposed to done by choosing the exit (x) option from the DOS-based menu prompt. However, should you close the DOS window by clicking on the corner ’x’ as you would any other window, you might get an error message and your selected text might disappear momentarily, until you undo and get it back.
  • The DOS/command line interface isn’t the best. A more modern interface exists but reserved for the paid version.

All in all this is a great program that offers a real value-added service. If you are looking for this functionality then download and install this, you will not be disappointed.

Differences between free and paid versions: Prospell, as the paid version of Freespell is called, offers an improved user interface and other features.

Version tested: 4.2

Compatibility: Win 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP

Go to the download page to download the latest version (approx 2.71 megs). The program home page.