Importing Configuration

By default the spell checker searches the current directory and up the hierarchy for the following files:

  1. package.json - looking for a cspell field.
  2. .cspell.json
  3. cspell.json
  4. .cSpell.json
  5. cSpell.json
  6. cspell.config.js
  7. cspell.config.cjs
  8. cspell.config.json
  9. cspell.config.yaml
  10. cspell.config.yml
  11. cspell.yaml
  12. cspell.yml

The first configuration file found will be loaded, the others will be ignored. To leverage multiple CSpell configuration files, the spell checker supports an import field. The import field is used to list files to be imported in order.

The spell checker “merges” configuration to build the settings used to check a document.

  • import - Each configuration file can import more configuration files. The files listed in the import are merged from first to last with the parent (the one that did the import) merged at the end.



language: fr
  - cspell-a.yml
  - cspell-b.yml
  - root


  - aws # enable aws dictionary
  - '!html' # Disable `html` dictionary
  - apple


language: en
  - '!softwareTerms' # Disable software-terms dictionary.
  - html # enable html
  - banana

Merged Result:

language: fr
  - aws
  - '!html'
  - '!softwareTerms'
  - html
  - root
  - apple
  - banana

Dictionary order does not matter. The number of !s is more important. In this case the html and softwareTerms dictionaries will NOT be used, nor will the English dictionary due to the language being fr.

Conditional Configuration

  • overrides - Overrides are used to apply settings based upon the file / path name of the file being checked matching the globs defined in filename.
  • languageSettings - Language settings are used to apply settings based upon matching the file type (languageId) or locale. A languageId or locale of * will match any file type or natural language respectively. languageId is a bit confusing because it originally referred to programming language, but it is really just a file type like json or python.