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Dictionary files not found.

Posted on 2003-11-05
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Last Modified: 2010-04-29
I'm working on a G3 PowerBook running OS 9.2. It has AppleWorks 6.2.4 and Claris Works 4.0 installed on it. I am running a 3rd program that needs to do spellchecking. When I go to the preferences and try to locate a file to use as the main dictionary I can browse to either of the folders that contains a dictionary but the actual file (  US-English Spelling) does not appear. Also I am not able to choose a User defined dictionary as that options is grayed. I reinstalled the offending program after deleting all the preferences for it and I reinstalled Appleworks...to no avail! This thing is driving the teacher nuts (and in consequence she's driving me) and she wants it done yesterday. Any help would certainly be greatly appreciated.)  Thanks  Sheryl
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Question by:pcsweetie
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by:ckurt99
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Your question is not entirely clear... you don't specify the third-party program that you're trying to use.  Let me see if I've got this straight: you go to the preferences of this unspecified third-party program, and you're trying to set it to use either the AppleWorks or the ClarisWorks dictionary, on the theory that the unspecified program should be able to use it?

The trouble with this picture is that dictionaries are not standard format files; most often, they are compressed in some way, which is probably why your third party program refuses to recognize the dictionaries that you're trying to feed it.  Most likely there is no way to accomplish what you want to do short of getting your hands on a dictionary prepared exclusively for the third-party program.  You might, just might, be able to somehow trick the unspecified program with a specially prepared User dictionary, as often the user dictionary is a simple word list, not compressed.  But even there it will take a bit experimentation: you might have to save words to a user dictionary from within the application, and then look at the resulting file with some file utility like BBEdit to see the raw file format it uses, then go find some public domain dictionary and massage it into that format, and try to feed it to the program as a user dictionary.

Good luck,

Kurt
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by:pcsweetie
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Kurt,
This is a problem specific to this machine. Another PowerBook exact same configuration, exact same programs loaded, finds the files no problem. I copied the 3rd party program folder from that laptop to this one so it is identical. The program is call IEP Master Solution written specifically for Special Ed teachers. Runs on Filemaker Pro. On the problem laptop you can not specify a User dictionary, this option is grayed out. It will only look for a Main Dictionary. I'm not real well versed on Macs (just took this job as tech support at a school) but every other machine I've set this up on has worked perfectly. Obviously by Murphy's Law the only machine giving me trouble is the one belonging to the "cranky" teacher :-). Am I going to have to do a clean install of the OS to fix this? Thanks for your help so far!
Sheryl
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by:ckurt99
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If it is a Filemaker application, have you looked carefully at whether the two Powerbooks are running slightly different version numbers of Filemaker?  Look carefully at whether the two Filemakers have all the same preferences/options enabled.

You may be able to sort this out a little further if you can network the two computers: get them set up so that they can see each other's disks over a network, and then see if the good computer can accept the bad computer's dictionary, and vice versa.  This may help point you toward where the problem is.

My gut feel is that there is something going on other than a corrupted OS, but I could be wrong.  I would try a clean install of Filemaker first, but even that isn't a guarantee; better to debug a little before you jump into the solution space.

Kurt
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by:pcsweetie
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Running exact same version of Filemaker Pro. Checked the preferences when I had them side by side. Didn't think to try the good dictionary from the bad laptop or vice versa. I'll be at the school again Friday and try the network thing. Good thought tho. Thanks and I'll let ya know what transpires. If this doesn't t tell me something I may have to remind the thing that reboot might as well mean dropkick!
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ckurt99 earned 500 total points
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Just be careful... I forgot to say 'Make sure that you have a backup of the setup that works!'  But you knew that anyway, right?
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by:pcsweetie
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Yes I will. I learned the CYB rule long ago but it never hurts to be reminded! I'm still befuddled tho on why the program has the option for a user dictionary grayed out? I know that if it was an option I could choose either of the 2 dictionaries currently on that machine (one in AppleWorks and one in Claris) and it would work fine. I'll get back to you on Friday. Thnaks again.
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by:pcsweetie
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Finally got to the laptop today and worked it out. Thanks for the good suggestions and the teacher said to tell you "thank you, I love you." From her that's a high accolade! This is the first time I've had to ask an expert instead of just finding the answer in the knowledge base and I'm impressed. Thanks again!
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by:ckurt99
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Wait... don't leave us hanging!  What was the root cause of the problem?!?  Was it a locked file?  Clean install fixed it?  I'm pretty curious.
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by:pcsweetie
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After networking the bad laptop wouldn't pick up the good laptop's dictionary or vice versa. So your advice to try the matching component from the good machine led me to believe there was something missing on the bad machine. So I re-examined the hard drives file by file.  To be specific there was a folder named "Claris Folder" at the root of the hard drive in the bad unit and the good one but no "Claris" folder located in the "System" folder (which there was in the good machine).  Copied that file over and it worked. It makes it a little more difficult to find missing files since users can put them wherever on a Mac Lots of work but worth it. Thanks.
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