Is there any way to tell Yosemite that I want to use OS X's Dictionary app when looking up words?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X' started by Rafagon, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. Rafagon

    Rafagon Genius
    Gold

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Likes Received:
    1,254
    Currently, if you highlight a word while typing in text on OS X Yosemite, you wil be presented with a couple of options.

    In my example, I highlighted the word the definition I wanted (the word was "ornery," was you can see in the screenshots below). I was interested in learning the meaning of this word. Having highlighted the word "ornery" presented me with a drop-down menu, and when I clicked on Look Up "ornery," OS X promptly obliged and gave me the definition of the words:

    1 copy.jpg

    part 2.jpg

    But let's pretend, for the sake of argument, that the definition provided included words that I'm not familiar with. Let's pretend I don't know what the words "bad-tempered" and "combative" mean. Instead of those words having a blue underline to indicate that they are in turn hyperlinked to their own defiinitions, I'm out of luck (unless I want to go through the whole process of starting from scratch to get at the definition of those words)
    . It would be nice if words used in a definition were hyperlinked to the dictionary entries for these words.

    There's an app built right into OS X called Dictionary, and this app does indeed hyperlink almost all the words in the definition it provides, so that, continuing the above example, if I don't know what "bad-tempered" means, clicking on it will take me straight to the dictioary entry for it (check out the screenshots below).

    3b.jpg
    4.jpg
    I would like to post one final example:

    comparison2.jpg (this is a thumbnail, please click to enlarge)

    It would be great to have the Look Up function in OS X Yosemite default to using Dictionary.app. As you can see, it offers much greater functionality. You could click on any of those words used in the definition of vestal and jump to their dictionary entry.

    Bottom line: Can I tell OS X to default to using the Dictionary.app every time I highlight a word, right click on it, and then click on "Look Up [word]?" Perhaps there's a defaults write command for this?

    Thanks for any help you may be able to provide.
     
    #1 Rafagon, Nov 28, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2014
  2. silvermoon

    silvermoon Evangelist
    Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Likes Received:
    179
    I found the following link helpful about the built in dictionary app.
    http://www.macprovideo.com/hub/mac-osx/quick-tips-advanced-dictionary-mac-os

    Especially the shortcut Control+Cmd+D to look up words
     
  3. Rafagon

    Rafagon Genius
    Gold

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Likes Received:
    1,254
    Thank you very much for sharing that with me, @silvermoon, it was definitely an interesting read, and I appreciate your taking the time to get that link for me. Most of the information in the article, however, seems outdated. I noticed the article is dated June 10th, 2010.

    Control+Cmd+D looks up words automatically, indeed. However, it still doesn't default to launching the Dictionary app and defining the words there; instead a pop-up pops up with the definition of the word, however, not a single word in the definition is hyperlinked. So, in the first screenshot below (labelled (a)), the definition says "1. a fertile spot in a desert where water is found." I don't need to loop up any of the words in the definition as they are all very simple words. But if I had looked up a less commonly-used word like "intrathecal," its definition includes the word "theca." What if I didn't know what "theca" means? I cannot click on it because it isn't hyperlinked (see the second screenshot below, which I labeled "(b)")

    Screenshot (a):
    oasis.png
    Screenshot (b):
    intrathecal.png
    The article goes on to offer tip #3 (Search with Spotlight):
    "So, let's move on to how Dictionary is integrated into Mac OS X technologies. First up is Spotlight. Use Command-Space bar or click on the Spotlight icon in the top-right of the menu bar and start typing a word you wish to look-up..."

    Obviously, clicking on the Spotlight icon at the top-right of the menu bar does work. However, the Command+Space Bar option mentioned in this paragraph does not work.

    Command+Space Bar simply lets me switch between my installed keyboards, by displaying a translucent "window" (or panel, if you will)—(See Screenshot (c), below) in the middle of the screen. Pressing the space bar while the window is displayed takes me to my next installed keyboard, akin to how Command+Tab lets you cycle through your running applications.

    Screenshot (c):
    Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 3.05.49 PM.png

    Next, the article offers Tip #4 - Put it in Context!
    It says that "In applications which make use of the Dictionary, like Pages, Sfari, TextEdit (which I've been using for these tests, as you can see), etc., you can right-click on a word to display a contextual menu... ... ...However, in the case of finding a definition, simply right-click a word and from the contextual menu choose Look Up in Dictionary.

    I tried it, and the contextual menu does not have the option to "Look Up in Dictionary." It has an option to Look up fasciitis" but again, this doesn't launch the Dictionary app, it just produces the pop-up (no word in the definition is hyperlinked). I even tried to go to Services and "Look Up in Dictionary" is not there. However, I believe that if I used the Automator application, I may be able to create a new service to "Look Up in Dictionary" the highlighted word. I'll have to refresh my Automator skills, I don't really use it often.

    However, I guess I could always leave the Dictionary app up and running. I'm sure it's not a resource hog.

    If memory serves, there is a native Dashboard Widget with a Dictionary function (not to be confused with a Notification Center Widget as in OS X 10.10+). To make this Dashboard Widget even more useful, it is possible to "detach" it from the Dashboard and place it "permanently" on your Desktop (I wrote "permanently" in quotation marks because the process is reversible; you can demote the widget back to the Dashboard if you get sick of having it on your Desktop.

    There's one thing I want to ask you if you know how to do, something I saw in the article you referred me to. This post has gotten a bit lengthy, so I'm going to post a new message asking you about it... See my next post below.
     
  4. Rafagon

    Rafagon Genius
    Gold

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Likes Received:
    1,254
    Okay, @silvermoon et. al., I noticed the following screenshot in the article that silvermoon referred me to:

    Cool_Date_on_menu_bar.jpg

    I really like that date icon, and I would like to add it to my menu bar on Yosemite.

    A quick search on Google reveals that an app called Bartender can achieve this. It comes with a free four-week trial, but after that, it's $15, which I find a bit steep just to get one or two graphical icons on my menu bar.

    Anyone know of a cheaper application to accomplish something similar? I'd be happy if this cheaper application had a minimal feature set... I don't need all the bells and whistles that Bartender offers.

    Then again, this four-week trial might just be able to be extended to ∞ (or when my iMac breaks down, whichever comes first) by simply removing the app and its associated files and re-installing it. (Not that I would ever do such a dishonest thing...)

    But seriously, if I like it enough after playing with it for four weeks, I might just cough up the $15—the developer deserves to be compensated for his or her hard work.
     
  5. silvermoon

    silvermoon Evangelist
    Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Likes Received:
    179
    I just tested this keyboard shortcut on Yosemite and it opens up the Spotlight search. I've used this before when quickly looking up words that I was unsure of the meaning. I start typing the word that I am searching for in Spotlight and scroll down in the results until I find the definition from Dictionary.

    It's a handy shortcut for other things too. Not just the Dictionary app, but to find those files that you don't remember where you put them.

    I should've checked the date on the article. I'll see if I can find anything more up-to-date.
     
  6. silvermoon

    silvermoon Evangelist
    Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Likes Received:
    179
    If you want an alternative to installing Bartender, you could use custom icons and modify the files directly. Here is a guide on how to do that in Mac OS X:
    http://www.tekrevue.com/tip/custom-icons-os-x/2/

    I agree that $15 is a bit steep to pay for an app. However, I'm willing to spend the money if the developer has worked hard and has good support.
     
  7. Rafagon

    Rafagon Genius
    Gold

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Likes Received:
    1,254
    I just spent half an hour messing around with Bartender and couldn't even get this tiny, simple little thing I wanted to work:
    bartendersux.jpg

    After painstakingly navigating all the menus, submenus, and clicking on just about everything that was clickable, I decided I would do the unthinkable... I actually went to the developer's website and carefully read through the instructions.

    The menus, preferences, all that stuff... made very little sense to me... I added Calendar.app to Bartender, but had no lucking getting any output out of that app—neither on the system menu bar or on the "Bartender bar." Unless I'm not supposed to use the Mac's stock Calendar.app and I'm supposed to get a specialized mini-version capable of running in the menu bar? But the instructions did not mention that at all...

    I'll visit that URL you gave me (thank you for that) for custom icons and modifying files directly. Sometimes I have better luck doing the dirty work myself than letting an app try to do it for me.
     
  8. Rafagon

    Rafagon Genius
    Gold

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Likes Received:
    1,254
    My bad! Sorry about that. Turns out I'm using the Command+Space hotkey to toggle between keyboards:

    inputsources2.jpg

    And I have no hotkey whatsoever specified for Spotlight search. I've been using Command+Space to toggle between keyboards forever (at least since Mountain Lion and maybe even earlier), so it'd be too difficult to untrain myself from that, but I'm sure I can come up with a suitable hotkey to launch Spotlight Search.
     
Similar Threads
  1. VA7DB
    Replies:
    7
    Views:
    1,726
  2. Edwin Walker
    Replies:
    5
    Views:
    638
  3. Lon
    Replies:
    1
    Views:
    294
  4. DonnieBoston
    Replies:
    3
    Views:
    848
  5. Alkali
    Replies:
    9
    Views:
    640
Loading...

Share This Page