17 Jan 2013

OpenOffice Writer English Grammar Checkers

If you wish there was an English grammar checker for OpenOffice Writer, you’re in luck. Two popular extensions let you add an English grammar check to OpenOffice for free.

Does OpenOffice Check Grammar?

Most word processing programs, like Microsoft Word, come with an English grammar checker included. Users of the free full featured office suite, Apache OpenOffice, are often disappointed to find that OpenOffice Writer does not have a built-in English grammar check. However, there are free grammar extensions available for OpenOffice. Two of the most popular extensions are After the Deadline (AtD), and LanguageTool.

After the Deadline

After the Deadline is a free English grammar checker for OpenOffice developed and maintained by Automattic, the same company that developed WordPress.com. Follow the instructions below to install After the Deadline and start automatically checking grammar in your OpenOffice Writer documents for free.

1. Download the Extension File

You can download After the Deadline from OpenOffice.org, or AftertheDeadline.com. You should also make sure you have OpenOffice 3.2.1 or later and Sun Java Runtime Environment 1.6 or higher before installing the extension.

2. Install the Extension

To install the After the Deadline extension, open OpenOffice, click "Tools", and select "Extension Manager" from the drop-down menu. Select the After the Deadline *.oxt extension file, then click "Open". Restart OpenOffice and After the Deadline will be installed.

3. Set Up After the Deadline

Before you use After the Deadline, you will need to specify which grammatical and style issues you would like it to detect. Click "Tools", then select "Extension Manager" from the drop-down menu. Select After the Deadline, then click the "Options" button. Check the boxes for the grammatical and style issues you would like After the Deadline to detect, the click "OK".

4. Start Using After the Deadline

After the Deadline is now set up and ready to use. Begin typing your document in OpenOffice Writer, and grammatical and style issues will be underlined with a blue wavy line. Right-click on an underlined fragment to view a description of the issue and possible solutions. You may select a solution, or click "Ignore Once" to clear the underline. Clicking "Ignore Rule", will disregard similar issues in the same document.


Language Tool is another grammar checker for OpenOffice Writer which can be used as a standalone application, or embedded in OpenOffice. LanguageTool can even be used online at LanguageTool.org using Java WebStart. You must have Java 6 or later to use WebStart.

Unlike After the Deadline, LanguageTool checks grammar and style in 20 different languages. It is designed to detect errors that typical spelling and grammar checkers would normally miss, like mixing up "there" and "their". It works much like After the Deadline, using a wavy blue underline to highlight grammatical and style issues. Right-click the underlined fragment for an explanation of the error and possible solutions. You may then select a solution or click "Ignore Once". Click "Ignore Rule" to disregard similar errors in the same document.

LanguageTool can be downloaded from OpenOffice.org, or LanguageTool.org. You can install and set up the LanguageTool OpenOffice extension the same way you would install and set up the After the Deadline extension.

Install one of these two popular English grammar checker extensions for Apache OpenOffice and you can quickly and easily check grammatical and style errors in any OpenOffice Writer document for free.

Images are author's own.

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  1. What is this, 2010? Use LibreOffice! The only component of OpenOffice that is more advanced than LibreOffice is Base as it migrated to HSQLDB version 2 for better performance, though I think it still lacks new features. LibreOffice FTW!

    1. That's not the article about what to use, OO.o or LO. It's a how-to for those who prefer OO.o for one reason or another.

    2. There has been a split, and there is no more "OO.o". What we have now is LibreOffice and ApacheOpenOffice.

      The community has moved over to LibreOffice and this is where the development is happening.

      Unfortunately, the Apache people kept the openoffice.org domain, and the are diverting people to ApacheOpenOffice. They do not have the decency to talk about the split and mention LibreOffice at the openoffice.org website.

  2. Comment from Kevin Lausen, who e-mailed me directly:

    I had problems installing either of these extensions within
    I did a synaptic package search and found libreoffice-lightproof-en
    grammar check utility for libre office...
    Synaptic package manager is not installed by default though...
    in your favorite terminal(mine is guake)
    # sudo apt-get install libreoffice-lightproof-en
    I like this solution a lot better because I hear about the java
    vulnerabilities in the wild being so bad that the US homeland securities
    web-site recommends disabling it...
    Although I am unsure if this extends to the OpenJDK6 or 7 that Linux
    uses, but I know for sure it is in the oracle's version's of java.

  3. DarkDuck:

    > I had problems installing either of these
    > extensions within Ubuntu/Libre-Office+OpenJDK6.

    What error? Probably you needed to install the libreoffice-java-common or openoffice.org-java-common package.

  4. Is there one that doesn't require the Internet and Java?