How can I import and export all my AutoCorrect entries, so they can be transferred to another machine?

Article contributed by Dave Rado

AutoCorrect entries that were saved without formatting are stored in an acl file; whereas entries that were saved with their formatting are stored in Normal.dot.

Method 1

Macros8.dot is installed by default in Word 97's \Microsoft Office\Office\Macros\ folder. Macros9.dot is available here. Both include a macro utility written by Microsoft to backup and restore all your AutoCorrect entries, and both versions of the macro work – up to a point – with both versions of Word.

However, the Microsoft utilities don't cater for AutoCorrect entries that consist of multiple paragraphs, or that contain tables; and if either are encountered, the macro will fail to complete. So, with the permission of my contact at Microsoft, I have written a new version of their utility (AutoCorrect.dot) which does cater for such entries. It is an 18k zip file, which you can download from here:
Click here to download

It's completely self-explanatory.

Note 1: AutoCorrect.dot will back up and restore multi-paragraph AutoCorrect entries in either Word 97 or 2000. In Word 2000, it will also back up AutoCorrect entries which contain tables. In Word 97, it won't back up entries containing tables, but it will back up everything else, and if any entries do contain tables, it will warn you which entries it failed to back up, thus allowing you to back up and restore those particular entries manually.

Note 2: The code used by the utility is not password protected, is easy to follow if you have any knowledge of VBA, and can be tweaked if required. For example, if you were planning a hardware rollout to replace your users' PCs, you could call a routine from an AutoExec macro which backed up everyone's AutoCorrect entries to files stored in their user areas on the network; and you could subsequently call another routine to restore them on their new machines. Both routines could use flags in the registry (or in a text file) so that they would only run once.

Method 2

Note that if you use this method, any entries on Machine 2 that are not on Machine 1 will be lost. If you want to preserve them, you'll need to use Method 1, above.

Furthermore, any AutoCorrect entries that were created with the Formatted Text setting switched on are not stored in the acl file – they are stored in Normal.dot. Method 1 will successfully back up and restore these entries as well.

Word 97
Copy the relevant .acl file from the Windows directory (e.g. c:\windows\) on one machine to the same directory on the other. In Word 97, the file is usually called [username]001.acl, but you can check what the filename and path is (on both machines) by looking at the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Common\AutoCorrect

If the username is different on the second machine you will, of course, need to rename the acl file after copying it over.

Word 2000 and above
Although Word 2000 does create a registry entry at:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\9.0\Common\AutoCorrect

... the information the registry entry gives is wrong! 1

In fact, Word 2000 and 2002 acl files are stored a path such as: 

C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Office\

If using User Profiles, it is stored in a path such as:

C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Office\[username]\

The actual path is operating system-dependant.

You will find that there are several language-specific .acl files in the relevant folder (all commencing MSO*.acl); and normally, only one of these  is actually used by Word. 2

For instance, if your language is UK English, the file Word uses will be MSO2057.acl. If it's American English it will be MSO1033.acl. The number used in the filename is the so-called LocaleID, listed in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article: WD2000: Supported Language ID Reference Numbers (LCID). But if in doubt, just add an AutoCorrect entry in Word, and then in Windows Explorer, see which acl file changes its Last Modified date. (Or just copy all of the acl files in the folder to your new system.)

If you have trouble finding the folder in which the acl file is stored, add an AutoCorrect entry in Word, and then search your hard disk for *.acl files modified in the last day, To do this, you can go into Windows Explorer and pres Ctrl+F to Find; where it says Named, type *.acl; and on the Date tab, select Modified during the previous 1 day.

However, you will probably find Method 1 a lot simpler!

__________________

1.

On my machine, for instance, the registry claims that my Word 2000 AutoCorrect entries are stored in C:\Windows\drado.acl; but they are not stored in that file, although the file does exist! One of life's great mysteries ...

2.

If you mark some text in a foreign language under Tools + Language + Set Language, and then create a new AutoCorrect entry with that text highlighted, a new  MSO*.acl file will be created. But in addition, some  MSO*.acl files seem to be installed when you install Word.


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