Word 2010: Merging AutoCorrect Entries from Two Computers

I was using Microsoft Word 2010 in Windows 7 x64.  In Word, I had numerous AutoCorrect entries.  AutoCorrect was, of course, the feature that would allow Word to correct or expand upon what I had typed.  So in addition to the corrections built into Word, I could create an AutoCorrect entry that would expand “fttt” to become “from time to time.”  It would do so as soon as I hit a key indicating that I was done with a word (typically, the space bar or Enter).  For those who had learned how to access Word features in earlier versions, AutoCorrect was available via Alt-T A (i.e., hold down the Alt key and hit T, then let go and hit A).  For those who relied on Word 2010 menu picks, AutoCorrect was available via File tab > Options > Proofing > AutoCorrect Options.

I had been using my large collection of AutoCorrect entries on two different computers.  Now I wanted to combine those two sets into one.  The sets from these two computers differed.  The primary kind of difference was that I had added new definitions to each list, as the need arose.  So Computer A would have definitions that Computer B did not have, and vice versa.  The secondary kind of difference was that I might have deleted previous definitions from one computer that I had not deleted from the other computer.  Simply merging the two lists would override those deletions.  In other words, if I had previously defined “in” as shorthand for “intelligence,” and had then eliminated that definition on Computer A but not on Computer B, a simple combination of the definition sets from the two computers would restore that and any other former definitions that I had deleted from one machine but not from both.

I decided that there were probably not many instances, this time around, when I had deleted an unwanted definition from one computer but not from the other.  That decision vastly simplified my effort.  If I had wanted to be sure that my merged set remembered which definitions had been removed from one machine or the other, it seemed that I would have had to use something like my Excel procedure:  combine the lists of definitions from each computer into an Excel spreadsheet, slice and dice that list to remove duplicates and to resolve disagreements between the lists, purge the existing set of AutoCorrect definitions from each computer, and then put the resulting master list back into Word.  (Needless to say, this sort of operation would best be preceded by backups of the individual AutoCorrect definition sets and also of the computer, preferably involving both System Restore (i.e., run SystemPropertiesAdvanced.exe > System Protection tab) and an image of the Windows programs drive (typically, drive C) for protection in case System Restore failed.)

So, this time around, I was interested in a simpler process of accreting lists:  piling up whatever had been defined on any machine, combining those definitions into a master list, and then installing that master list on each computer.  I wasn’t going to need to do the purging or the semi-manual sorting of discordant entries described in the preceding paragraph.  The question at hand was simply, how can I obtain and merge AutoCorrect definition sets from multiple computers into a single AutoCorrect set?

In my previous efforts to back up and copy sets of AutoCorrect entries (see the links provided above), I had learned that there were at least two ways to proceed, and at times I had used each.  One was to use a macro to create and, optionally, to restore a file containing the AutoCorrect definitions.  The other was to copy and restore the MSO1033.ACL file (replacing 1033 with other Microsoft language IDs, if I had been using something other than American English; or apparently looking for MSO2057.ACL instead of MSO1033.ACL, if I had been running Windows 8).  A preliminary search seemed to indicate that merging ACL files would succeed, if at all, only by using something like the Excel procedure (above).

I would not have preferred to work with MSO1033.ACL files, but the AutoCorrect.dot macro I had used in earlier versions of Word had not functioned reliably in Word 2010.  In an article about Word 2003 that Microsoft would apparently be retiring within days after this writing (due to its ending of support for Office 2003 as of April 8, 2014), Microsoft seemed to say that something like that older macro was built into Word 2003.  To use it, that article recommended going into Control Panel > Programs and Features > Microsoft Office > Change > Add or Remove Features > Custom Setup > Choose advanced customization of applications > Choose update options for applications and tools > Microsoft Office Word > Wizards and Templates > More Templates and Macros > Run all from my computer.  Then, in Word, go into File > Open > Look in > C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Macros > open Support.dot > Enable Macros (if needed) > AutoCorrect Backup.  Something like that, anyway.

But, as I say, the older macro hadn’t worked reliably in Word 2010.  Now, however, I saw that there were apparently some updated versions of that macro.  I wasn’t sure if I had previously tried them and found them wanting, if I had overlooked them, or if they hadn’t yet been developed, last time I searched.  There was an updated macro called Macros9.dot, in the form offered by Dave Rado, and there was also something called AutoCorrect2007, reportedly updated for use with Word 2007, 2010, and 2013, from Jay Freedman.  I renamed these to be AutoCorrectMacros9.dot and AutoCorrect2007.dotm, respectively.

I double-clicked on AutoCorrectMacros9.dot, which was by far the bigger of the two (at 0.88MB).  Word 2010 warned me that macros were disabled, so I clicked on Word’s File > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > Enable all macros.  Now I saw why Macros9.dot was larger:  it gave me instructions for playing around with macros for various purposes.  The AutoCorrect Utility was among these.  Rather than go to all that trouble, I killed and archived AutoCorrectMacros9.dot.

Instead, I double-clicked on AutoCorrect2007.dotm.  Voilà (or, if you prefer, viola! or walla!):  the familiar old AutoCorrect macro interface, with options to backup or restore a set of AutoCorrect definitions.  I made a backup of the definitions on one computer, moved AutoCorrect2007.dotm to the Word 2010 section of my shared, customized Start Menu, mirrored the updated Start Menu to the other computer, and ran AutoCorrect2007.dotm to make a backup there as well.  (Word became temporarily unresponsive while handling my large list of AutoCorrect definitions.)

Now I had AutoCorrect definition backups from two different computers.  How to merge them?  I gave them two different names, put them together in the same folder on one computer, and opened both in Word.  Of course, they had many of the same definitions.  If I simply combined them and imported the combined file into Word, would it screen out the duplicates?  I tried that.  I copied everything after the Name – Value – RTF heading in one, and pasted it at the bottom of the other.  Using the Tab key immediately after the last RTF entry (so as to add a row within the invisible table), I added one more line, a bogus entry that I could search for, just to verify that this monstrosity had indeed been imported.  This bogus entry was a correction of ASDFGHJKL to be TEST.  Then I saved that file as TEST.docx.  I ran AutoCorrect2007.dotm and imported TEST.docx into Word 2010.  When it said “Restore complete,” I typed ASDFGHJKL and hit the space bar.  It said, TEST.  So it had indeed imported the monstrosity.  Were there duplicates?  No.  Word had screened them out.  So that simple combining approach worked.

I saw that I did have a problem, however:  the list of AutoCorrect definitions from Computer B included many more unwanted items than I had anticipated.  I could have just deleted the whole list from Computer B, but I didn’t want to lose the new definitions it contained.  So I opened the AutoCorrect2007 outputs from both computers in Word, again, and this time cut and pasted everything after the Name – Value – RTF headings into two separate Excel worksheets, one for each computer.  I used VLOOKUP commands to identify items appearing in the list for Computer B but not Computer A.  With that and a manual look-through, I had a superior combined list.  I went back to that Word document, right-clicked on the table area to show its properties, turned on its borders so that I could see what I was doing, pasted the contents of the Excel sheet so that each value would have its own cell (as distinct from letting the whole thing pile up in a single table cell), and saved it as my new, updated AutoCorrect list.

Now, since I wanted this consolidated list to replace the existing list on Computer B (and thought I might as well replace the list on Computer A too), I would need to run a macro to purge the existing AutoCorrect definitions in each computer.  As detailed in a previous post, the code in the needed macro read as follows:

Sub PurgeAutocorrect()
    Dim acEntry As AutoCorrectEntry
    For Each acEntry In AutoCorrect.Entries
    Next acEntry
End Sub

To create the macro, I went into Word 2010 and hit Alt-T M M.  (Using the menu, that was View tab > Macros.)  I typed the macro name shown here in the code (i..e., PurgeAutocorrect) > Create > paste the entire code (above) into the “Normal – NewMacros (Code)” box, in place of the lines beginning “Sub PurgeAutocorrect()” and ending with “End Sub” > File tab > Close and Return to Microsoft Word.  Then I went back into Alt-T M M > select PurgeAutocorrect > Run.  When Word became responsive again, I checked AutoCorrect:  all of my definitions were gone.

Now I ran AutoCorrect2007.dotm again, this time choosing its Restore option, and imported my new combined set of AutoCorrect definitions.  Alas, there was a problem:  somehow it looked like everything had been imported as formatted text (as I could see by browsing in Word’s AutoCorrect dialog), even though I had set RTF to FALSE for the large majority of items.  Formatted text would be inserted with its own font, which might not be the font I was using in a particular document.  I wanted almost all of these definitions to be saved as plain text.  I tried running the AutoCorrect2007 restore process again.  That didn’t solve the problem, and now I had a new one:  I was getting the wrong results.  For instance, I had defined “ti” as shorthand for “there is”; but now “ti” was giving me “theorize.”

I thought maybe Word was confused.  So I went back, ran the PurgeAutocorrect macro again, verified that all of the definitions were gone, and then closed Word and all other Office programs (since they all seemed to share dictionaries).  Then I started Word again, verified that the definitions were still gone, and ran the AutoCorrect2007 restore again.  But no:  I still had formatted entries.  Well, did it matter if the entries in the RTF column in the definitions file were in all caps — “FALSE” rather than “False”?  Because somehow mine were.  I did a global search-and-replace to change those to initial caps only, saved that revision to the combined list of definitions, and tried the AutoCorrect2007 restore process again.  Now the results were even stranger:  the only thing being imported was a dozen formatted definitions (e.g., a colon : followed by a parenthesis ) becomes a smiley face) plus the definition of “t” as shorthand for “the.”  I ran the PurgeAutocorrect macro and tried again.  That solved it.  The definitions were working, and they were not preformatted, but rather were taking on the ambient font where I was using them.


I used the AutoCorrect2007.dotm template to introduce a macro that successfully backed up and restored lists of AutoCorrect definitions in Microsoft Word 2010.  I was able to create a combined list, merging incompatible lists from two different computers, by opening the backups produced by AutoCorrect2007.dotm, copying them to Excel, deleting duplicates and other unwanted entries, and reintroducing the merged list into Word via AutoCorrect2007.dotm.  It was apparently necessary to make sure that entries in the RTF column of the list were initial capital letters only:  “False,” not “FALSE” (and presumably likewise for True).

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