Using the Mac Thesaurus While Writing

For writers, a good thesaurus can be more useful than a dictionary. Fortunately, your Mac has both. You can easily access the thesaurus while writing in Pages, Mail or almost any app. You can even have it appear above the dictionary.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Using the Mac Thesaurus While Writing.

You probably know that your Mac has a builtin dictionary. Right. And you may have even used it every once in a while to look up the definition of a word. But as a writer I find the thesaurus inside the dictionary way more useful. It's just as easy to bring up.

So, for instance, say you're writing and you want to find an alternative for a word. You can select the word. There are many different ways to bring up the Dictionary. You can control click, for instance, and say Look Up. Or a really cool shortcut is Command, Control, and then D brings up the dictionary definition.

But if you lookup under Dictionary you'll see Thesaurus and it will give you some alternatives for the word. Now from here you can sometimes click a More button to reveal more if there's too much to fit into the small space of this popup. You can also hit Open in Dictionary with this icon here. It'll open up the dictionary app right to that entry.

The cool thing about being inside the dictionary app at this point is you can continue to dig down. So for instance, if I wanted to go in and say well windy is an interesting word. Let me go and see the thesaurus entries for that. You're going right in. You're not looking up the dictionary word for that but you're looking up synonyms for windy. You can use the back arrow to get back or you can continue to dig down into other words.

Anytime you want to get the dictionary definition you can simply switch to Dictionary. It sticks with the same word. It just gives you the dictionary definition rather than the synonyms.

Now if you find yourself using the thesaurus more often than the dictionary you can actually go into Dictionary Preferences and here is where you will see the different dictionaries that you have access to. So you turn things on and off and you can move things around. I'm going to actually move the Thesaurus above the Dictionary here. So now when I click on a word and do Command, Control, D, I get my synonyms here at the top instead of under Dictionary.

Comments: One Response to “Using the Mac Thesaurus While Writing”

    Anne Burke
    2 years ago

    Ah, so that’s where the Thesaurus is. Thank you Gary. I look forward to your weekly missives. So helpful.

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