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I use TeXworks editor on Windows where the default setting appears to be

a) Errors are underlined in red (but TeX code is not recognized and so it is underlined too; and ``comments'' are in red too) this makes for an egg hunt to find the errors.

b) You cannot permanently add a word to the dictionary

Can the default be changed and how do other editors perform in this respect?

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In this site it is recommended to have one question per thread. I'd say that your question is somewhat overloaded - maybe you should try to split it into several isolated questions. – Dror May 25 '12 at 11:49
It is not an editor thing, but I would recommend UTF-8 input files. It improves readability as well as enables spell checking for many (non-english) texts. Mit freundlichen Gr\"u\ss en :P – Andy May 25 '12 at 12:08
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The default dictionaries which probably pick-up the language from the locale are TeX aware. Use Edit>Spelling>Your Language.

enter image description here

You cannot save new words, but you can install a new dictionary if you want and ignore warnings--as per the image above. There is a whole section in the manual how to install Libre Office dictionaries.

A better editor for Windows at a small figure is WinEdt 6.0. It has a better spell checker.

IMHO you chasing fleas in a haystack though. If you are to code extensively you will need to add all you PGF keys etc to the dictionary.

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One can use a "magic line" at the beginning for setting the language on a document's basis: % !TEXspellcheck =it_IT will choose the dictionary with that suffix. – egreg May 25 '12 at 15:51
@egreg Sure there are a lot of directives. There is also a Comprehensive Help Manual. – Yiannis Lazarides May 25 '12 at 15:54
Not really a lot; this one can be very handy for those writing in more than one language. – egreg May 25 '12 at 15:57

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