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How to make spelling errors more visible in Firefox


Firefox has a very nice built-in spellchecker; it's not as nice as After the Deadline, but it still gets the job done. One problem I've had with it, though, is that the squiggly line underneath misspelled words is very easy to miss; it's red, yes, but it's also super-thin and really tiny.

If you've had a similar problem and, for some reason, don't feel like trying out After the Deadline, you will be happy to know that the style of the underline can actually be changed. It takes some fiddling, but it's not very hard. Here's what you have to do, according to the Mozilla KB article on the preference:

  1. Enter About:config in the Firefox address bar. If it pops up an alert, tell it that you know what you're doing and proceed.
  2. Search for ui.SpellCheckerUnderlineStyle. If you find anything, skip to step 5.
  3. If your system is like mine, you found nothing. That means you have to add this configuration value. Right-click the main portion of the window and select New > Integer.
  4. Now, enter ui.SpellCheckerUnderlineStyle to create a setting by this name.
  5. Now you can set the value of this setting to one of several options: 0 for no highlighting, 1 for a dotted line, 2 for long dots, 3 for a single straight line, 4 for a double underline (like you see above – that's my pick), and 5 for a squiggly line, which is the default.

This setting doesn't require restarting Firefox; it is effective immediately, so you can have another tab open and test each style as you set it to see what works for you. Now, if only you could set a background color for misspelled words...

Tags: browsertips, firefox, spelling, text, tips, writing