AutoText Limits

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 6, 2011)

Debbie asked if there was a limit to the number or size allotment for AutoText entries in a Word template. It seems that Debbie was having problems editing her AutoText entries and getting her edits to "hold."

Technically, there are limits that affect AutoText entries. I say "technically" because the limits are so high that most people (probably 99.99%) will never reach them. For instance, according to various Knowledge Base articles, Word only limits the number of AutoText entries per template based on the available memory in your system and maximum file size allowed by Windows. In other words, you could (again, technically) have however many AutoText entries it takes to fill up a template file up to 32Mb in size.

Since the limits imposed by Word are not an issue in this case (Debbie only had 15 AutoText entries), then the problem of not being able to update must be caused by something different. You should first check to make sure that Word really isn't saving your AutoText updates. The easiest place to do this is by choosing AutoCorrect from the Tools menu, and then clicking on the AutoText tab. All your AutoText entries are easily visible in the dialog box.

You should also make sure that when you are saving your new AutoText entries, you are really saving them in the Normal.dot template. If you use the AutoText tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box, you can easily see where AutoText entries are being stored by using the Look In drop-down list.

If you still can't seem to save changes to AutoText, more than likely the culprit is one of the following (assuming that your AutoText entries are in Normal.dot):

  • A corrupted template file. Shut down Word and rename Normal.dot to something else, such as Normal.old. When you restart Word, it recreates Normal.dot for you. If you can now save and edit AutoText entries, you have solved the problem.
  • The template file is read-only. Shut down Word and check the file using Windows Explorer. If it is read-only, change it so the read-only attribute is turned off.
  • Overwritten template file. You have restored your system from backups, and overwritten Normal.dot. This would wipe out any AutoText entries made since the backup was created.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (886) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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