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.

Merging Custom Dictionaries

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 22, 2014)

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.

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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