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We enabled spell checking in Wygwam and the 3rd party service (webspellchecker.net) doesn't even seem to understand simple things like contractions.

For example if the word "aren't" is present it flags "aren" as a misspelled word :-/

So my question is - are there any other ways to spell check in Wygwam without hacking it?

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Given the licensing for dictionaries, one of the only other viable options is to use the browser's built in spell check. This won't work in older versions of IE, however.

Native spell check functionality is by default disabled in the editor, use disableNativeSpellChecker to enable it:

config.disableNativeSpellChecker = false;

You can do this from WYGWAM's settings.

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