Spellchecking in Vim / Neovim


Just until stumbling upon some random video on youtube about spellchecking in Vim, I didn't know such capability even existed in Vim. Turns out that you can, and it can be utilized in markdown files, commit messages and etc. This post is a demonstration of how you can enable and utilize spellchecking in Vim.

Enabling Spellchecking in Vim

:set spell spellang=en_us " use english dictionary for spellchecking

To only set it for local buffers, use:

:setlocal spell spelllang=en_us

I utilize this primarily in autocmds, like this:

autocmd BufRead,BufNewFile *.md setlocal spell spelllang=en_us " enable spellchecking in markdown files autocmd FileType gitcommit setlocal spell spelllang=en_us " enable spellchecking in git commit files

Once you have these set up, words that are recognized by the spellchecker will be highlighted according to the highlight groups SpellBad, SpellCap, SpellRare, SpellLocal. For further reference, consulting the :help spell-quickstart docs will come in handy. In my neovim setup, the words are shown underlined (Not exactly sure where it comes from).

Utilizing it

One can get recommendations from the spellchecker from the completion engine. Run set complete+=kspell, as in:

autocmd FileType gitcommit setlocal spell spelllang=en_us | set complete+=kspell

One can navigate between recommendations in insert mode using ^N and ^P, and spellchecking recommendations will show up among the options.

Here are some commands I found useful:

  • ]s and [s: navigate between misspelled words. Former moves forward, the latter backwards.
  • z=: see alternatives to the word under the cursor. For example, if I write file and run z= on it, it will recommend a list of words from the dictionary.
  • zg: register a word as correct in the dictionary. The Vim dictionary does not know a lot of words, so it will mark a lot of words as incorrect. One way to solve that issue is to register a word to the dictionary. This command does that.
  • zw: just like zg, but marks a word as incorrect.

For more, as always, consult the helpdocs. For spellchecking, :help spell is where you should go to.