book MacDING

English <-> German Dictionary Lookup under Mac OS X

(version 0.4)

[General] [Download] [Installation] [Screenshots] [Versions] [Support] [Author]

What is MacDING?

MacDING is an english <-> german dictionary-lookup program for Mac OS X. It is a reimplementation of Frank Richter's DING (DIctionary Nice Grep) lookup program for Unix/Linux Systems (using Tcl/Tk). MacDING is natively implemented in Cocoa and provides therefore an eye-candy Apple interface. The functionability at this point however, is not as comprehensive as the one provided by the original software (e.g. no ispell/dict lookups). If you need a more comprehensive application, you might consider installing the original software (it runs under Apple's X11).

This program as well as its predecessor is released under the GNU General Public License. It can therefore be modified and reused under the conditions of this license. I would be happy about improvements of this application (you will need a little knowledge about Cocoa/Objective-C and Python, pyobjc).


Download the application bundle for Mac OS X (tested only for 10.2 and higher):
DL Download MacDING for Mac OS X (including german-english dictionary) DL Download MacDING without a dictionary

Get a dictionary for DING:

I host a copy of all dictionaries adopted to the MacDING client as part of the project for convenience. The databases are provided by different authors and groups and I will try to keep up with the development of the files.

Get the source code for version 0.3 (current version is 0.4 -> if you are really interested, have a look at the CVS repository for the newest version):

Download source code

Get the newest version of the source code via CVS (likely to be unstable):

open and type in the window
cvs login
Enter "anonymous" as password. Then type
cvs -z3 co -P macding
You have now a working copy of the latest version under ./macding.


If you downloaded a release that includes a dictionary, there is no installation. Simply move the application icon to a folder of your choice (usually /Applications).

If you want to install an additional dictionary, follow these steps:

HOWTO add a new dictionary
  • download one of the dictionaries from the download-section
  • unpack the dictionary (double click on it)
  • move the resulting .ding file to one of the following locations:
    • /Library/Dictionaries
    • ~/Library/Dictionaries
    • ~/.dictionaries
    or to another reasonable location.
  • start up MacDING (double click on the application icon) and choose "Preferences" from the main menu
  • check that your dictionary appears in the displayed list, if not choose the "Add" Button and choose the dictionary file from the list


I love screenshots, so why not offer some?
Screenshot 1 Screenshot 2 Screenshot 3
starting point open drawer after a performed search for "some" same search but in a different mode (chosen in the drawer on the lefthand side)


If you would like to report a bug in the current version, please go here:
bug Report a Bug for the current version
If you would like to request a new feature for the next release, pleasae go here:
Request a new Feature
All other sourceforge-features under the sourceforge summary page for MacDING:
Sourceforge summary page

Features of the current version

  • TODO (coming in 0.5) - requested features
    • remember window position between launches
    • make main window resizable
    • remember settings in the drawer between launches (defaults)
    • es-de dictionary-file has incorrect suffix
    • set the headline of the table according to dictionary in use
    • add persian/arabian dictionary
    • enable right-to-left alignment for arabian/persian dictionaries
  • Version 0.4 (current release)
    • Preferences pane:
      • customizable database
    • Full UTF8 encoding
    • multiple dictionaries supported
  • Version 0.3
    • native Aqua interface (see screenshots)
    • search using grep (fast and customizable)
    • if grep is not available, a slower internal search based on regular expressions is used
    • umlaut-buttons for american keyboards,
    • several search modes:
      • case (in-)sensitive search,
      • search after a word in the text (surrounded by blanks),
      • word at the beginning of the text,
      • regular expressions (extended or basic),
      • a totally customizable grep-command.


Matthias Ihrke <mihrke{at}uni-goettingen{dot}de>


German - english dictionary and original DING:
Frank Richter -

German - Norwegian dictionary

German - Spanish dictionary
Zeno Gantner -

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Last changed: Tue Jan 03, 2006 11:54AM Matthias Ihrke