A tool for converting dictionary files aka glossaries with various formats for different dictionary applications
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PyGlossary is a tool for converting dictionary files aka glossaries, from/to various formats used by different dictionary applications


Linux - (New) Gtk3-based intreface

Windows - Tkinter-based interface

Linux - command line interface

Supported formats

Format Extension Read Write
ABBYY Lingvo DSL .dsl X
AppleDict Source .xml X
Babylon .bgl X
Babylon Source .gls X
CSV .csv X X
DictionaryForMIDs X X
DICTD dictionary server .index X X
Editable Linked List of Entries .edlin X X
FreeDict .tei X
Gettext Source .po X X
Lingoes Source (LDF) .ldf X X
Octopus MDict .mdx X
Octopus MDict Source .txt X X
Omnidic X X
Sdictionary Binary .dct X
Sdictionary Source .sdct X
SQL .sql X
SQLite 3 .sqlite X X
StarDict .ifo X X
Tabfile .txt, .dic X X
TreeDict X
XDXF .xdxf X
xFarDic .xdb X X


PyGlossary uses Python 3.x, and works in practically all operating systems. While primarilly designed for GNU/Linux, it works on Windows, Mac OS X and other Unix-based operating systems as well.

As shown in the screenshots, there are multiple User Interface types, ie. multiple ways to use the program.

  • Gtk3-based interface, uses PyGI (Python Gobject Introspection) You can install it on:

    • Debian: apt-get install python3-gi
    • openSUSE: zypper install python3-gobject
    • Fedora: yum install python3-gobject
    • Archlinux: pacman -S python-gobject
  • Tkinter-based interface, works in the lack of Gtk. Specially on Windows where Tkinter library is installed with the Python itself. You can also install it on:

  • Command-line interface, works in all operating systems without any specific requirements, just type:

    python3 pyglossary.pyw --help

    You may have to give --no-progress-bar option in Windows when converting glossaries (because the progress bar does not work properly in Windows command window)

When you run the program without any command line arguments or options, PyGlossary tries to find PyGI, if it's installed, opens the Gtk3-based interface, if it's not, tries to find Tkinter and open the Tkinter-based interface. And exits with an error if neither are installed.

But you can explicitly determine the user interface type using --ui, for example:

python3 pyglossary.pyw --ui=gtk


python3 pyglossary.pyw --ui=tk

Format-specific Requirements

  • Reading from XDXF

    sudo pip3 install lxml

  • Writing to AppleDict

    sudo pip3 install lxml beautifulsoup4 html5lib

  • Reading from Octopus Mdict (MDX) (required for some glossaries)

    sudo pip3 install python-lzo

  • Reading from Babylon BGL: Python 3.4 to 3.6 is recommended

Other Requirements for Mac OS X

If you want to convert glossaries into AppleDict format on Mac OS X, you also need:


Convert Babylon (bgl) to Mac OS X dictionary

Let's assume the Babylon dict is at ~/Documents/Duden_Synonym/Duden_Synonym.BGL:

cd ~/Documents/Duden_Synonym/
python3 ~/Software/pyglossary/pyglossary.pyw --read-options=resPath=OtherResources --write-format=AppleDict Duden_Synonym.BGL Duden_Synonym-apple
cd Duden_Synonym-apple
make install

Launch Dictionary.app and test.

Convert Octopus Mdict to Mac OS X dictionary

Let's assume the MDict dict is at ~/Documents/Duden-Oxford/Duden-Oxford DEED ver.20110408.mdx.

Run the following command:

cd ~/Documents/Duden-Oxford/
python3 ~/Software/pyglossary/pyglossary.pyw --read-options=resPath=OtherResources --write-format=AppleDict "Duden-Oxford DEED ver.20110408.mdx" "Duden-Oxford DEED ver.20110408-apple"
cd "Duden-Oxford DEED ver.20110408-apple"
make install

Launch Dictionary.app and test.

Let's assume the MDict dict is at ~/Downloads/oald8/oald8.mdx, along with the image/audio resources file oald8.mdd.

Run the following commands: :

cd ~/Downloads/oald8/
python3 ~/Software/pyglossary/pyglossary.pyw --read-options=resPath=OtherResources --write-format=AppleDict oald8.mdx oald8-apple
cd oald8-apple

This extracts dictionary into oald8.xml and data resources into folder OtherResources. Hyperlinks use relative path. :

sed -i "" 's:src="/:src=":g' oald8.xml

Convert audio file from SPX format to WAV format. You need package speex from MacPorts :

find OtherResources -name "*.spx" -execdir sh -c 'spx={};speexdec $spx  ${spx%.*}.wav' \;
sed -i "" 's|sound://\([/_a-zA-Z0-9]*\).spx|\1.wav|g' oald8.xml

But be warned that the decoded WAVE audio can consume ~5 times more disk space!

Compile and install. :

make install

Launch Dictionary.app and test.