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Transfer or Move Your Microsoft Office Custom Dictionary

One of our great readers wrote in yesterday asking how to migrate the custom Office dictionary from one computer to another, and it seemed worthy enough to write about for everybody’s benefit. Thanks Josh!

If you’ve ever seen the squiggly red line under a word and chosen the “Add to Dictionary” option, then you will realize what I’m talking about… all of those words are stored in a custom dictionary file, and can be really annoying to re-enter on a new computer.

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Locating Your Dictionary File

In Word 2003, you will need to go to Tools \ Options, then click on the Spelling & Grammar tab, and select Custom Dictionaries in that dialog.

For Word 2007 or other Office 2007 applications, click on the big Office button in the upper left-hand corner, then Word Options, and then in the Proofing section you’ll see “Custom Dictionaries”

Note: Outlook 2007 requires you to open a new email before you’ll see the Office button.

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This will bring up the screen where you can assign custom dictionaries, as well as see the full path to the current dictionary file. After we transfer the file from the old computer to the new one, you’ll need to use the Add button here to add the dictionary, if it’s not automatically added.

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Note that you should use the Edit Word List dialog in here to make any changes (don’t try and make changes to the file itself, I’ve read about people having issues when doing that)

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Backing Up or Transferring

To backup your dictionary file, browse down to the path you saw above, or just enter in the following into the location bar in explorer:

%appdata%\Microsoft

You’ll see one of two directories, for Office 2007 versions it’s usually located in the UProof folder, but in older versions it was in the Proof folder. Either way the dialog above should tell you the full path.

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Once you go into that directory you should see the CUSTOM.dic file, which is what you’ll want to back up and transfer to the same location on the other system… or you could put it somewhere else if you’d like, for instance in your Documents folder.

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Note that if you open the file you should be able to see all of your custom words. Just don’t make edits from here if possible.

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Once you’ve copied the file to the same location on the other computer (Make sure you close all Office apps before doing so), you should be able to add the custom dictionary to the new computer using the dialogs we explained above, if it’s not automatically detected or you decided to put it into your documents folder.

If this is a feature you use all the time, you might want to consider moving the file into your Documents and then reassigning the custom dictionary to that location. That would make backups a lot simpler, since you wouldn’t have to dig around to find it.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/8/08

Comments (18)

  1. Josh

    Woohoo!

    Thanks =)

  2. 1fastbullet

    Another outstanding find- you guys never cease to amaze!

    Another similar agravation is the spell-check in Yahoo mail. When you click on the ignore box, you get the drop-down where you can select “ignore all instances”. It’s a complete waste of time as, a paragraph later you run into the same word or phrase and the stinking thing wants to correct it again. Arggg!

  3. montazer

    I do not know how to add German language to dictionary language in office 2007, or any other solution to run a German spelling check in Excel 2007

  4. reegan

    sir

    I want to add new custom dictionary of language italy. Also how can i get the italian language custom dictionary.

    Thank u

  5. TSguy

    I believe dictionaries for other languages must be purchased separately from MS

  6. moucon

    Chris –
    The only problem you’re going to have… “moving” a system file into Vista or Win7 will create permission /ownership problems. The last time I did this the file showed up in Word and Outlook – but wound up being “read only” so the user couldn’t add new entries to it. Required some long-handled manual tweaks to restore ownership so his user account (an “Admin” account, BTW) could write to the file.

    Apparently, a system file that you move or manually create will not have the same ownership/permission attributes as one created by the System during an install procedure.

    I think next time what I’m going to do is leave the CUSTOM.DIC where it is in the Office installation on the new computer… and simply add the CONTENTS of the old file. YMMV

    Moo

  7. Shivraj

    hi all

    I need to create a shortcut of Microsoft Dictionary but every time i failed to get the name of dictionary.

    I searhed to find it with path.

    help me

  8. Naimesh

    Thanks buddy. This was helpful..

  9. sue

    great idea guys. worked, except the file pathway was \Application Data\Microsoft\Proof on my PC.

  10. sue

    Suggest just searching for .DIC in the filename on the C harddrive and you’ll get the whole file pathway listed there really fast.

  11. norm

    fantastic, i don’t know who wrote the above process but it’s great until i try to activate it in computer 2.

    i transferred my custom dictionary (a notepad document) to computer 2 and i put it in Uproof and a personal folder in my hd but it doesn’t show up in the ”custom dictionary” window when i try to add it to computer 2.
    the only dictionary in ”custom dictionary” window is the default custom dictionary labeled ”CUSTOM” (a notepad document). i checked the file type for my custom dictionary and it’s a .dic.

    so then i ”browsed” from the custom dictionary window to the locations i transferred my custom dictionary to but it doesn’t show up in either location even tho i can see it and open it if i go into windows explorer.

    then… i retitled the file with .dic at the end (mycustomdictionary.dic) and i was able to browse it but i get an error message that it needs to be a unicode file (oy vey…) so i searched unicode filegot snowed under.

    ideas anyone?
    norm : ))~

  12. norm

    ok… i’m getting closer.
    i deleted the dictionary’s that i had moved to 07 and i moved again, my custom dictionary from 02 where i found it in the ”proof” folder. this time i put it in the proof folder in 07 rather than the Uproof folder.

    now my custom dictionary shows up in the custom dictionary window and i was able to make it the default dictionary but… when i type one of my custom words in ms word, they are underlined as misspelled and my custom word doesn’t show up in the drop down spelling correction window.

    still open to suggestions
    norm : ))~

  13. norm

    update:
    after 10,973.5 tries, i finally got my custom dictionary content to be accepted by ms word w/o underlining my custom words.

    in computer 2:
    - i opened the dictionary in notepad that i had transferred from computer 1 and also opened the default custom dictionary in Uproof.
    - then i hi-lited the content of my custom dictionary in computer 1 and copy/pasted it into the default custom dictionary in computer 2. it works!!!

    ok… thanks to the geekguy for making this space available, i hope this helps some other frustrated soul out there in ciberlandia…

    norm : ))~

  14. Dori

    This was a LIFESAVER, thank you, thank you, thank you! I work as a medical transcriptionist and have built up a lovely dictionary within Word. This weekend I’m going to have to reload the OS on my computer and I’ve been so worried about losing my dictionary. Got everything saved in my documents, so I’m good to go. Thanks again!

  15. MaDD

    Hello,
    My Ms Word 2007 is not underlining wrong words in Russian, English is working great. What to do in order to get underlined wrongly spelled Russian words?
    Thank you.

  16. Vic

    WHAT A GREAT TIP!!!
    THANK YOU!! IT WORKS 100000000000%.

    For those who did not succeed:
    1. in the search box click start and then in the search box, just type or copy/paste:
    %appdata%/Microsoft
    And then press Enter
    This will take you directly to the appropriate folder:
    You>Application Data>Microsoft
    Inside this folder is the Uproof in it you will find the famous file: CUSTOM.DIC
    2. Copy this file into a safe and easier place to reach and remember.
    3. Open Word >File>Options> Proofing>Custom Dictionaries>Browse
    4. Here you must “tell” Word what is the new path of your Custom.dic file.
    5. Click OK et voilà….
    6. Next time you format or reinstall you will just have to repeat steps 3 and 4.
    7. Enjoy

    Once you are done, it will apply to all other Office applications.

    Enjoy

  17. Vic

    Hi MaDD,
    just install Russian Dictionary from Microsoft update then follow these steps:
    Go to:
    Start>All Programs>Microsoft Office>Microsoft Office (2007 / 2010) Tools>Microsoft Office (2007 / 2010) Language Preferences> [Add Additional Editing Languages]>Select Russian
    Press OK
    and you are all set.
    Enjoy it

  18. tae mo bulok

    tae mo bulok

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