The book addresses Word 2000, 2002/XP, and 2003 for Windows, with a brief section at the back on Word X and Word 2004 for Mac. Most of the backup tips are in the Windows section, though there’s a sidebar on page 179 which tells you how to back up key Word files on your Mac, and I’ll work them in here. (If any Word for Mac users out there would like to write in with a guest column on how to perform the tasks I discuss on a Mac, or about other Mac-related backup subjects, I’ll be happy to publish it in a future newsletter and on the blog, with appropriate credit and links to you.)
If you use an older version of Word (for either PC or Mac), you might want to skip this article and go straight to making your backup for this week. On the other hand, if you’re inspired by the possibility of wrestling Word into submission, you can order the book from
Back Up Your Word Settings (p. 7)
This is lurking in the Microsoft Office Tools folder in the Start Menu. If you haven’t moved it from its default location (as I so often do), it will be in Start | All Programs | Microsoft Office 2003 | Microsoft Office Tools for Word 2003 and Start | All Programs | Microsoft Office Tools for Word XP. If you have reshuffled your Start Menu items, you’ll know better than I do where your Microsoft Office Tools folder is hiding.
The Save My Settings Wizard actually backs up settings for all your Office programs, which means 1) you need to close all Office applications before you use it and 2) It can create quite a good-sized file. I can’t tell exactly what’s in it, but I know it scanned over my templates, among other things, while creating the backup, and the resulting file for my own Office 2003 settings was 32 MB in size.
Back Up Your Mac Word Preferences
Back Up Your Word Templates (p. 7)
Windows XP seems to like to keep them in your Documents and Settings folder, down a few levels. To find out where yours are, go to Word’s Tools menu, select Options, and click the File Locations tab. Then see what it says under “User Templates.” That’s the folder you’ll need to copy your templates from. (You can also search in Windows Explorer for any files ending in .dot, which is the extension for Word Templates.)
You can automate the backup of these files with any program which does file backups, and of course they’ll be backed up in any complete drive image such as those created by Ghost. Even if you do that, however, you might wish to put your templates onto a CD or a USB flash drive in order to transport them over to another computer to work on.
Back Up Your Word Mac Templates
Back Up Your Autocorrect Entries (p. 7)
Copy this file (or files) into your chosen Word Settings backup location. Now that you know where the file is, you can also automate this backup by selecting the source and destination in a file backup program like Karen’s Replicator or SmartSync Pro (to name the two that I’m using myself). By contrast with the .ocp file which contains your Office settings, the .acl file is quite small.
Back Up Your Mac Autocorrect Entries
Back Up Your Spelling Dictionaries (p. 8)
Your dictionaries are stored in C:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Microsoft\Proof\. The file has the wildly original name CUSTOM.DIC unless you’ve chosen to give it a different name, or have created more than one custom dictionary. (I needed custom dictionaries more when I was in academia, because of the large number of foreign words I used.) Again, copy this to the appropriate backup media.
And yes, you can automate this backup, too. If you keep a file backup program running in the background, you can back up the custom dictionary every time it changes, but once a day should be plenty unless you suffer frequent system crashes (not to be confused with drive crashes—once your drive has crashed, it stays that way) or Word crashes (with which the Word Annoyances book may be able to help you.)
Back Up Your Mac Spelling Dictionaries:
These live in ~/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/Custom Dictionary. Copy them to your backup media as appropriate.
Until then, may your data be safe.
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