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Merging Custom Dictionaries

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: Merging Custom Dictionaries.

Leonard knows how to back up any custom dictionaries that he creates. He wonders, however, if there is a way to merge custom dictionaries from two different computers.

There is no automatic way to merge them, but it can easily be done. The key is to remember that custom dictionaries are nothing but text files. Simply open both of them in a text editor, such as Notepad, and then copy the words from one dictionary file to the other. That's really it; you are done.

Since custom dictionaries are text files, you need to be careful with them. You don't want to open them in Word and inadvertently save them out as Word documents. If you do, then they won't work any more. (This is why I said to use Notepad. You thereby remove the risk of corrupting the dictionary by saving it in a non-text format.)

You may wonder about duplicates in your combined dictionary file or about sorting the words. Quite honestly, Word doesn't seem to care about either of them. If there are duplicates, then Word ignores them. Word also apparently sorts the words internally, so there is no need to do so. If you decide you want to get rid of duplicates in the combined dictionary file, you can take time to sort them so that detecting the duplicates is easier. Simply open the dictionary in Notepad, copy all the words into a blank Word document where you can sort and edit the file, and then copy the shortened (and ordered) word list back into the Notepad file.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7599) 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: Merging Custom Dictionaries.

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Comments for this tip:

polk0987    31 Dec 2015, 08:44
In response to William, 30De15, who asks about a dictionary to look up word meanings in MS Word: "dictionary" as used here means simply a list of words, used for checking spelling (more accurately a "lexicon"). To look up meanings I expect there are downloadable dictionaries; and there are lots of online dictionaries (requiring Internet access) where words can easily be looked up. There may be some tools that integrate into MS Word to give a definition on a click. But that's not what this page is about. I'd do a search for something like <lookup word meanings OR definitions "ms office">.
william    30 Dec 2015, 17:33

I have visited your website soon,

Qn.can I have a dictionary that can be merged together for instance with a word document? in case that if I want the meaning of the word I just click it to follow it easily?

Thanks and

Frank    30 Dec 2015, 12:05
This doesn't say where the text file can actually be found.
pol098    16 Aug 2014, 08:27
With small effort there are tools to combine, sort, and remove duplicates from a text file. It's worth learning how to use some Unix tools that have been ported to Windows, and can be downloaded free of charge. In particular, "cat" will concatenate (join) several files; then "sort" will sort the merged result alphabetically; and "uniq" will remove duplicates, leaving only unique lines.

I combined personal dictionaries for several programs with a single command, which took about 2 minutes to write and worked first time (you have to download the 3 programs first). Copy the 3 program files and the dictionaries to combine in the same directory, open a Windows command prompt (CMD) there (or a Linux shell), and type

cat persdict.dat en_GB.usr standard.dic | sort | uniq > mydic.txt

It will create a single combined dictionary called mydic.txt from the 3 files, sorted case-insensitively and without duplicates. This file can be copied over the individual dictionaries for the different programs.

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