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Issue 877: May 12-18, 2024

Q: I’m using Windows 10, and recently downloaded DuckDuckGo from Chrome. When I misspell a word, it gives me a link to click on that takes me to another page to find the correct spelling. Spell check in Chrome gave me options without going to another page.  My question is how/can I get spell check in DDG? Is there an option to get it to work like it does in Chrome? It’s just annoying to me. Do I just have to live with this? Thanks.

 – Fred B.
Lynn Haven, Florida

A:  Before I take a shot at answering your question, Fred, I have some ground to cover to make sure all of the rest of my readers understand just what it is that you’re asking about.  Please bear with me.

The rather interesting name DuckDuckGo (DDG for short) applies to several products from a company of that same name.  Chief among these products is a search engine, though I don’t think that’s what you’re asking about, as you said you “downloaded” it, implying that you’re talking about software.  That would seem to indicate that you’re dealing with the DDG browser.  You’re also drawing multiple comparisons between it and Chrome, so I’m going to make the leap of logic that your question applies to the browser product.

In general, DDG is about increased privacy and security of your personally identifiable information (PII).  That’s the intent, anyway.  Per the DuckDuckGo web page, they say about their search engine, “We don’t track you.  Ever.”  And about their browser, “Unlike Chrome and other browsers, we don’t track you.”   They even offer add-ons for other browsers that are intended to block tracking cookies and software, thereby “evading hidden data collectors and speeding up websites.”  The value of that latter part is questionable in this Geek’s opinion, as any speed increase is likely to be unnoticeable by the average user.

To summarize, DuckDuckGo (cutsie name and all) markets products intended to replace other browsers and search engines that have a reputation for performing data collection on people – to include tracking their online activity for marketing purposes – with their own, custom versions that they claim have your privacy first and foremost.  I won’t make any judgements on whether they have succeeded in their efforts, as I don’t use, and have never installed any of their products.

As for your issue with spell checking in the DuckDuckGo browser, you are not the only one that takes issue with the way it’s implemented, Fred.  While a search of DDG’s own help pages for the term “spell check” revealed a whopping zero results, I did find some forums on Reddit where the topic was discussed as recently as a few months ago.  In fact, some of the posts were worded almost exactly the way your question to me was worded.  One person claimed that he had “heard” that DSG was waiting for Microsoft to fix “something” before they could improve their browser’s spell check function.  Yet another claimed that if go into the Windows settings and enable both “Show text suggestions as I type” and “Autocorrect misspelled Words as I type”, that the combination of features extend as far as DDG’s browser to provide real-time spell checking, though perhaps not exactly the way that you’re looking for.  You can read about how to turn this on in the article at

In conclusion, by way of offering a possible explanation for all this, remember that DDG’s whole purpose is to protect your privacy.  In order to spell check as you type, all the letters you type, or at the very least, who whole words you type, need to be analyzed and sent off to a server for checking and correction.  I could be wrong, but it seems to me that activity is counter to DDG’s stated mission. 

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May 2024

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