Word.Tips.Net WordTips (Menu Interface)

Expanding a Custom Dictionary

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Expanding a Custom Dictionary.

Leonard has received a message that his custom dictionary is full. He wonders if he can expand it or find a way to use the CUSTOM2.DIC file that his copy of Word doesn't seem to recognize.

There's a good chance that the custom dictionary isn't really full; Word sometimes gives this message in error. Word MVP Suzanne Barnhill discusses this error a bit at her website and provides a link to the Microsoft Knowledge Base:


There is no real way to expand a dictionary if it really is full, but you can instruct Word to recognize and use other dictionaries on your system. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools dialog box. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Spelling & Grammar tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Spelling & Grammar tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Click the Custom Dictionaries button. Word displays the Custom Dictionaries dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The Custom Dictionaries dialog box.

  6. Click the Add button. Word displays the Add Custom Dictionary dialog box. This looks very similar to a standard Open dialog box.
  7. Use the controls in the dialog box to locate and select the dictionary you want to be used by Word. (This is where you would select the CUSTOM2.DIC file.)
  8. Click OK. Word adds the selected dictionary to the list of available dictionaries in the Custom Dictionaries dialog box.
  9. Select the new custom dictionary in the list of available dictionaries; make sure there is a check mark next to the dictionary name.
  10. Click the Change Default button.
  11. Close all the open dialog boxes.

Word will now use the dictionary you specified in step 7 as the dictionary for its spell checking tasks.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3830) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Expanding a Custom Dictionary.

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