Software Mac OS X Dictionary Add-On 1.1.1
A Firefox Add-On



Feedback About About
The Mac OS X Dictionary Add-On is a Firefox extension (add-on) that allows Mac OS X users to use the built-in Dictionary Application to look up definitions.

Thanks to everyone for all the feedback, feature requests and especially problem reports! The application works with Leopard (OS X 10.5.X) and Tiger (OS X 10.4.X). Please let me know if you encounter any problems using Mac OS X Dictionary Add-On by sending feedback.

This is free software. However, if you find this add-on useful, please consider making a contribution by clicking the "Donate" button.

Documentation Documentation
Requirements
Firefox
Requires Mac OS X v. 10.4.X or later.
If this extension works on an earlier version, please let me know.
Dictionary
Background
The Mac OS X Dictionary Add-On is a Firefox extension (add-on), which uses the built-in Mac OS X Dictionary application to perform the dictionary look ups. It uses the Dictionary's dict:///[word] URL to display the word.

I experimented with some of the existing Firefox add-ons from doing dictionary look ups and, while they were good, I wanted something which was more integrated into Mac OS X. Additionally, none of the add-ons I tried allow me to look up a word without highlighting it. Highlighting takes me too much time, especially when the word you want to highlight is part of a link.

This add-on automatically determines the word located under your mouse or looks up the highlighted (a.k.a. selected) word. Thanks to rikaichan for ideas on how to determine the text under the mouse cursor.

Usage
By default, the plugin operates in the following manner:
  1. Right-Click (or <CTRL> + Left-Click) in the browser document area to show the usual popup menu.
    • If a word is highlighted, that word is looked up. In the following image, the highlighted word is "built-in". The menu item says: Look Up "built-in" in Dictionary.
      Looking up hightlighted text.
    • If no word is highlighted, the word under your mouse cursor is looked up. In the following image, the word "encounter" was under the mouse cursor when the popup menu was brought up. The menu item says: Look Up "encounter" in Dictionary.
      Looking up the word under the mouse cursor.
    • Otherwise no special look up menu item is shown in the popup menu.
  2. Select the menu item from the popup menu to perform the lookup. See the quirks for some known look up problems in Mac OS X.

A status bar icon (Status Bar Icon) is displayed by default. If you Left-Click on the status bar icon, you will see the following popup menu.

Popup Menu
  • Options...
    The Options... menu item will open up the following options dialog.
    Options Dialog
    The Display status bar icon checkbox toggles the display of the status bar icon. When turned off, you can still access the options (a.k.a. Preferences) by using Firefox's Tools->Add-ons menu item.

    The Auto-select word under mouse cursor checkbox toggles the ability of the extension to determine the word under the mouse cursor. When turned off, you will need to highlight the word you want to look up.

    The Mac OS X 10.4.X or older system checkbox changes the way the plugin communicates with the built-in Mac OS X Dictionary application. On those older system, the dict:///[word] URL would only start Dictionary if it wasn't running. The URL wouldn't actually perform the dictionary lookup. This option will force the URL to be sent twice to Dictionary.
  • Help...
    Opens up a new browser window on this URL.
  • About Mac OS X Dictionary
    Opens up a dialog showing standard about box information about this add-on.

Quirks
Unfortunately, there are some quirks with word look up mechanism on Mac OS X 10.4.X. If the word is misspelled or not in the dictionary, the Dictionary Application will not display any results for the look up.
License
Mozilla Public License (MPL)
Download Download
Mac OS X Dictionary Add-On Version 1.1.1 [April 10, 2009]
This is free software. However, if you find this add-on useful, please consider making a contribution by clicking the "Donate" button. Click the link to automatically download and install.

Changes added in version 1.1.1 [April 10, 2009]:

  • Updated to work in Firefox 3.5.X.
  • Fixed update links in the add-on to support automatic updates in the future.

Changes added in verison 1.1.0 [March 31, 2009]:

  • Added Mac OS X 10.4.X or older system checkbox to the Options... dialog.
  • Updated to work in Firefox 3.0.X.

Initial verison 1.0.0 [February 17, 2008]

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