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Using the Microsoft Common Spell API

, 14 Jun 2001
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An introduction to using the Microsoft CSAPI.


Searching around in MSDN trying to find how to use the MS Office spell checker, I found a "fantastic" OLE solution:

  1. Run Word
  2. Push the word to be checked into Word
  3. Get the result.

Thanks very much :(

Then I found this. Through them, I got the Microsoft Common Spell API (CSAPI).


To ensure I respect copyright, I cut the smallest possible example using the default dictionary only, and ignored possible error states or exceptions. You will probably need to modify it for your language and paths (I'm not reading paths from registry).

Below is some sample code that illustrates how to use the SDK.

#include "windows.h"
#include "csapi.h" //with typedef unsigned char CHAR; removed

typedef WORD (*SpellInit_fn) (SPLID FAR *lpSid,
                              WSC FAR  *lpWsc);

typedef WORD (*SpellOpenMdr_fn)(SPLID    splid,
                                LPSPATH  lpspathMain,
                                LPSPATH  lpspathExc,
                                BOOL     fCreateUdrExc,
                                BOOL     fCache,
                                LID      lidExpected,
                                LPMDRS   lpMdrs);

typedef WORD (*SpellCheck_fn)(SPLID    splid,
                              SCCC     iScc,
                              LPSIB    lpSib,
                              LPSRB    lpSrb);

typedef WORD (*SpellCloseMdr_fn)(SPLID    splid,
                                 LPMDRS   lpMdrs);

typedef WORD (*SpellTerminate_fn)(SPLID    splid,
                                  BOOL     fForce);

void main(void)
    int Language = 1051; //slovak

    //to be more general search thru registry:
    //Dll functional interface:
    //  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\
    //           Proofing Tools\Spelling\1051\Normal\Engine
    //Mdr main directory:
    //  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\
    //           Proofing Tools\Spelling\1051\Normal\Dictionary
    //Under any user directory:
    //  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\
    //           Proofing Tools\Custom Dictionaries\1

    char DllName[] = 
     "C:\\Program Files\\Common Files\\Microsoft Shared\\Proof\\MSPSK32.DLL";
    char MdrName[] = 
     "C:\\Program Files\\Common Files\\Microsoft Shared\\Proof\\MSSP_SK.LEX";

    HMODULE SpellInstance = LoadLibrary(DllName);

    SpellInit_fn SpellInit = 
    SpellOpenMdr_fn SpellOpenMdr = 
    SpellCheck_fn SpellCheck = 
    SpellCloseMdr_fn SpellCloseMdr = 
    SpellTerminate_fn SpellTerminate = 

    SPLID Handle;
    WSC SpecChars;
    SpecChars.bIgnore = 0;
    SpecChars.bHyphenHard = 45;
    SpecChars.bHyphenSoft = 31;
    SpecChars.bHyphenNonBreaking = 30;
    SpecChars.bEmDash = 151;
    SpecChars.bEnDash = 150;
    SpecChars.bEllipsis = 133;
    SpecChars.rgLineBreak[0] = 11;
    SpecChars.rgLineBreak[1] = 10;
    SpecChars.rgParaBreak[0] = 13;
    SpecChars.rgParaBreak[1] = 10;

    SpellInit(&Handle, &SpecChars);

    MDRS Mdrs;
    SpellOpenMdr(Handle, MdrName, NULL, FALSE, TRUE, Language, &Mdrs);

    SIB InputBuffer;
    InputBuffer.cMdr = 1;
    InputBuffer.lrgMdr = &Mdrs.mdr;
    InputBuffer.cUdr = 0;
    InputBuffer.lrgUdr = NULL;

    SRB ResultBuffer;
    ResultBuffer.cch = 1024;
    ResultBuffer.lrgsz = (char*)malloc(ResultBuffer.cch);
    ResultBuffer.cbRate = 255;
    ResultBuffer.lrgbRating = (unsigned char*)malloc(ResultBuffer.cbRate);

    InputBuffer.lrgch = "slovo"; //tested word
    InputBuffer.cch = strlen(InputBuffer.lrgch);
    InputBuffer.wSpellState = fssStartsSentence;
    SpellCheck(Handle, sccVerifyWord, &InputBuffer, &ResultBuffer);

    int Result = ResultBuffer.scrs; //scrsNoErrors

    SpellCloseMdr(Handle, &Mdrs);
    SpellTerminate(Handle, TRUE);

I have tried the above code with Office 95 and Office 97. Installing Office 2000 with English, Slovak and German languages creates a registry Spelling\1051 (slovak) and Grammar\1031 (german) entries.

BTW: My search for a similar WIN API for string comparison failed. It seems Windows knows how to use the actual language only (resp. see .NET Framework Reference, String.Compare Method (String, String, Boolean, CultureInfo)), and there is no way to hook between your application and the system to correct the MS bugs for "small markets" like my country (where exceptional vocabulary or similar solution are necessary for proper string evaluation). If you know more about this, do not hesitate to publish it.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

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About the Author

Tibor Blazko
Software Developer (Senior)
Slovakia Slovakia
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

Questionhow used it? Pinmemberrame remo15-Dec-14 23:19 
AnswerRe: how used it? PinmemberTibor Blazko15-Dec-14 23:27 
GeneralRe: how used it? Pinmemberrame remo17-Dec-14 1:35 
GeneralRe: how used it? PinmemberTibor Blazko20-Dec-14 20:56 
Questionlink: Using the C++ Spell Checking API PinmemberTibor Blazko11-Aug-13 22:18 
GeneralCSAPI3 Pinmemberleebauer2-Nov-09 1:55 
Questionhow to complile Pinmemberleebauer21-Oct-09 7:21 
AnswerRe: how to complile PinmemberTibor Blazko25-Oct-09 1:04 
please have a look at attached makefile to see dependencies
(unfortunately i have no acces to vs now, anyway article is already very old)
Generalcreating local language spell cheking Pinmembertedkidane1-Oct-09 8:39 
GeneralRe: creating local language spell cheking PinmemberTibor Blazko1-Oct-09 10:21 
GeneralUsing unicode chars Pinmembermita5555526-Aug-09 2:34 
GeneralRe: Using unicode chars PinmemberTibor Blazko26-Aug-09 2:39 
QuestionWhat are the license terms PinmemberDwayne Bailey28-Jan-07 8:14 
GeneralProblem Creating a New Dictionary for MS Office Sort by Position Word List Pinmembermfcuser31-Aug-04 7:45 
GeneralRe: Problem Creating a New Dictionary for MS Office Sort by Position Word List PinmemberShaheer Ahmad7-Dec-04 23:23 
GeneralRe: Problem Creating a New Dictionary for MS Office Sort by Position Word List Pinmembermfcuser8-Dec-04 3:48 
GeneralRe: Problem Creating a New Dictionary for MS Office Sort by Position Word List PinmemberShaheer Ahmad8-Dec-04 4:56 
GeneralRe: Problem Creating a New Dictionary for MS Office Sort by Position Word List Pinmembermlavaud200512-May-05 23:21 
GeneralRe: Problem Creating a New Dictionary for MS Office Sort by Position Word List Pinmembermertart14-May-05 23:18 
GeneralRe: Problem Creating a New Dictionary for MS Office Sort by Position Word List PinmemberRakeshShivanna5-Jun-06 21:50 
GeneralProblem running the code... Pinmemberdeepblue129-May-04 4:44 
GeneralRe: Problem running the code... PinmemberTibor Blazko6-Jun-04 20:59 
GeneralRe: Problem running the code... Pinmemberalfonso.gonzalez14-Jul-05 6:55 
GeneralRe: Problem running the code... PinmemberTibor Blazko15-Jul-05 6:59 
GeneralCSAPI 3 Dcoumentation Pinmemberschler6-Jan-03 1:49 

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