In this page I read that “the personal word list is normally a file called .ispell_english or .ispell_words in your home directory."

But I don’t have that file. Is this Unix specific? I’m on a Mac.

I’m trying to find the file where the words I saved are stored.

Note: This question is suggested but I don't have ~/.hunspell_default either.

emacs v.28.1

  • 1
    It probably depends on which spelling program you actually use: M-x ispell actually looks for aspell, ispell , hunspell, enchant-2 in that order (IIRC). You need to find out which one you are using and then find out where the one you are using is keeping your personal list.
    – NickD
    Dec 20, 2022 at 13:26
  • 1
    Note that you have to install the spell checking tool separately from Emacs. I use macOS and Emacs rules apply to macOS as much Linux and Windows. First install the spell checker tool you want to use (I use aspell, but the others also work on macOS) then you might want to customize Emacs to specify which one you use. And to answer your question the file is OK on macOS as much as any Unix-type OS.
    – PRouleau
    Dec 20, 2022 at 21:54
  • @PRouleau emacs is using aspell. From message buffer I find this: "Spell-checking abc.org using aspell with default dictionary...done" Also, "Personal dictionary modified. Save? (y or n) y Personal dictionary saved." Where can I find this personal dictionary?
    – zeynel
    Dec 21, 2022 at 8:56
  • Ok, I found it, it is at ~/.aspell.en.pws This question also related emacs.stackexchange.com/questions/17237/…
    – zeynel
    Dec 21, 2022 at 9:04

1 Answer 1


Emacs ispell.el file provides the ispell-personal-dictionary user-option. Its docstring states:

File name of your personal spelling dictionary, or nil. If nil, the default personal dictionary for your spelling checker is used.

The default will depend on the actual spell checking tool. In Emacs you can select it with the ispell-program-name user-option.

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