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: Backing Up Building Blocks.

Easily Backing Up AutoText Entries

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 27, 2017)

The AutoText feature in Word is quite helpful, as it provides a quick way to enter common information into your document with just a few keystrokes. Exactly how you use AutoText has been described in other issues of WordTips. After you have been using it a while, and after you have created a range of AutoText entries, you may wonder how to back up all those entries.

Backing up your AutoText entries is very easy, if you remember where those entries are stored—in templates. The default template in which they are stored is the Normal template. You can, if you take special care when defining AutoText entries, store them in different templates, but most people don't—they are simply in the default location, where they can be used with all of your documents.

Once you understand that AutoText entries are most likely in the Normal template, then you can simply back up that file and you back up your AutoText entries. In the alternative, if you do have AutoText entries stored in other template files, all you need to do is back up those files, and you will also be covered on that front.

If you determine the folder in which the Normal template is stored, you can quickly create your own "template backup tool." Sit down with a pencil and paper, and use the Windows Search tool to locate the default template that is appropriate for your version of Word, or any other template in which you stored AutoText entries. Once you locate them, write down the complete path names. For instance, on one of my systems, I wrote down the following:

C:\WINDOWS\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates\normal.dot

Your templates will probably be in a different place; make sure you write down the path accurately.

Once you have the path for your template file, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Notepad accessory.
  2. In Notepad, type the following command, replacing the word "source" with the full path to your template file (the one you wrote down) and replacing the word "destination" with the full path to where you want your backup to be located. If there are spaces within either your source or destination path (as there is in the example above), make sure you surround them with quote marks.
  3.      copy source destination
    
  4. Press Enter and type a similar line for each template you want to back up.
  5. Save the Notepad file, giving it a name that ends with .bat, such as "SaveTemplate.bat".
  6. Exit Notepad.
  7. Right-click on your desktop. Windows displays a Context menu from which you should choose New, and then Shortcut. (What you see next depends on the version of Windows you are using.)
  8. Click the Browse button to locate the file you saved in step 4. This is the program (technically, a "batch file") that you want the shortcut to execute for you.
  9. Finish creating your shortcut. When done, it should appear on your desktop.
  10. Right-click the new shortcut and choose Properties from the Context menu. Windows displays a Properties dialog box for the shortcut. The exact appearance of this dialog box—and the tabs it contains—depends on your version of Windows.
  11. Check the various tabs in the dialog box until you locate the Run drop-down list. Change this drop-down list to choose the Minimized option.
  12. Check the various tabs in the dialog box until you locate the Close On Exit check box. (This check box may not be available on some versions of Windows.) This check box should be selected.
  13. Close the Properties dialog box.

Now you have a batch file that will issue the command necessary to copy the templates you specified in steps 2 and 3 every time you double-click on the shortcut. You should make sure that you only run the backup when Word is not running. This is because any changes you make to your AutoText entries are not saved until you exit Word, so if you back up while Word is running, you won't save any AutoText changes made during the current Word session.

This approach to back up files (using a batch file) is handy for backing up other files, as well. All you need to do is adjust the source and destination in the copy command, and you can develop a batch file that does exactly what you want it to do. Toward that end, you may want to learn which other files you may want to back up in Word. The following resources, maintained at the Word MVP site, will help you in this regard:

http://wordmvp.com/FAQs/General/FilesToBackup.htm
http://wordmvp.com/FAQs/Customization/WhatTemplatesStore.htm
http://wordmvp.com/FAQs/Customization/ExportAutocorrect.htm

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1333) 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: Backing Up Building Blocks.

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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