← 7 User interactionTable of contents7.7 Drag and drop →
      1. 7.6.4 Editing APIs
      2. 7.6.5 Spelling and grammar checking

7.6.4 Editing APIs

The definition of the terms active range, editing host, and editable, the user interface requirements of elements that are editing hosts or editable, the execCommand(), queryCommandEnabled(), queryCommandIndeterm(), queryCommandState(), queryCommandSupported(), and queryCommandValue() methods, text selections, and the delete the selection algorithm are defined in the HTML Editing APIs specification. The interaction of editing and the undo/redo features in user agents is defined by the UndoManager and DOM Transaction specification. [EDITING] [UNDO]

7.6.5 Spelling and grammar checking

User agents can support the checking of spelling and grammar of editable text, either in form controls (such as the value of textarea elements), or in elements in an editing host (e.g. using contenteditable).

For each element, user agents must establish a default behavior, either through defaults or through preferences expressed by the user. There are three possible default behaviors for each element:

true-by-default
The element will be checked for spelling and grammar if its contents are editable.
false-by-default
The element will never be checked for spelling and grammar.
inherit-by-default
The element's default behavior is the same as its parent element's. Elements that have no parent element cannot have this as their default behavior.

The spellcheck attribute is an enumerated attribute whose keywords are the empty string, true and false. The empty string and the true keyword map to the true state. The false keyword maps to the false state. In addition, there is a third state, the default state, which is the missing value default (and the invalid value default).

The true state indicates that the element is to have its spelling and grammar checked. The default state indicates that the element is to act according to a default behavior, possibly based on the parent element's own spellcheck state, as defined below. The false state indicates that the element is not to be checked.


element . spellcheck [ = value ]

Returns true if the element is to have its spelling and grammar checked; otherwise, returns false.

Can be set, to override the default and set the spellcheck content attribute.

The spellcheck IDL attribute, on getting, must return true if the element's spellcheck content attribute is in the true state, or if the element's spellcheck content attribute is in the default state and the element's default behavior is true-by-default, or if the element's spellcheck content attribute is in the default state and the element's default behavior is inherit-by-default and the element's parent element's spellcheck IDL attribute would return true; otherwise, if none of those conditions applies, then the attribute must instead return false.

The spellcheck IDL attribute is not affected by user preferences that override the spellcheck content attribute, and therefore might not reflect the actual spellchecking state.

On setting, if the new value is true, then the element's spellcheck content attribute must be set to the literal string "true", otherwise it must be set to the literal string "false".


User agents must only consider the following pieces of text as checkable for the purposes of this feature:

For text that is part of a Text node, the element with which the text is associated is the element that is the immediate parent of the first character of the word, sentence, or other piece of text. For text in attributes, it is the attribute's element. For the values of input and textarea elements, it is the element itself.

To determine if a word, sentence, or other piece of text in an applicable element (as defined above) is to have spelling- and/or grammar-checking enabled, the UA must use the following algorithm:

  1. If the user has disabled the checking for this text, then the checking is disabled.
  2. Otherwise, if the user has forced the checking for this text to always be enabled, then the checking is enabled.
  3. Otherwise, if the element with which the text is associated has a spellcheck content attribute, then: if that attribute is in the true state, then checking is enabled; otherwise, if that attribute is in the false state, then checking is disabled.
  4. Otherwise, if there is an ancestor element with a spellcheck content attribute that is not in the default state, then: if the nearest such ancestor's spellcheck content attribute is in the true state, then checking is enabled; otherwise, checking is disabled.
  5. Otherwise, if the element's default behavior is true-by-default, then checking is enabled.
  6. Otherwise, if the element's default behavior is false-by-default, then checking is disabled.
  7. Otherwise, if the element's parent element has its checking enabled, then checking is enabled.
  8. Otherwise, checking is disabled.

If the checking is enabled for a word/sentence/text, the user agent should indicate spelling and/or grammar errors in that text. User agents should take into account the other semantics given in the document when suggesting spelling and grammar corrections. User agents may use the language of the element to determine what spelling and grammar rules to use, or may use the user's preferred language settings. UAs should use input element attributes such as pattern to ensure that the resulting value is valid, where possible.

If checking is disabled, the user agent should not indicate spelling or grammar errors for that text.

The element with ID "a" in the following example would be the one used to determine if the word "Hello" is checked for spelling errors. In this example, it would not be.

<div contenteditable="true">
 <span spellcheck="false" id="a">Hell</span><em>o!</em>
</div>

The element with ID "b" in the following example would have checking enabled (the leading space character in the attribute's value on the input element causes the attribute to be ignored, so the ancestor's value is used instead, regardless of the default).

<p spellcheck="true">
 <label>Name: <input spellcheck=" false" id="b"></label>
</p>

This specification does not define the user interface for spelling and grammar checkers. A user agent could offer on-demand checking, could perform continuous checking while the checking is enabled, or could use other interfaces.