Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Expanding a Custom Dictionary.

Expanding a Custom Dictionary

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 3, 2018)

Leonard has received a message that his custom dictionary is full. He wonders if he can expand it or find a way to use the CUSTOM2.DIC file that his copy of Word doesn't seem to recognize.

There's a good chance that the custom dictionary isn't really full; Word sometimes gives this message in error. Word MVP Suzanne Barnhill discusses this error a bit at her website and provides a link to the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

http://wordfaqs.mvps.org/MasterSpellCheck.htm#NotAdded

There is no real way to expand a dictionary if it really is full, but you can instruct Word to recognize and use other dictionaries on your system. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click the Proofing option at the left of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Proofing options of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Click the Custom Dictionaries button. Word displays the Custom Dictionaries dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The Custom Dictionaries dialog box.

  6. Click the Add button. Word displays the Add Custom Dictionary dialog box. This looks very similar to a standard Open dialog box.
  7. Use the controls in the dialog box to locate and select the dictionary you want to be used by Word. (This is where Leonard would select the CUSTOM2.DIC file.)
  8. Click Open. Word adds the selected dictionary to the list of available dictionaries in the Custom Dictionaries dialog box.
  9. Select the new custom dictionary in the list of available dictionaries; make sure there is a check mark next to the dictionary name.
  10. Click the Change Default button.
  11. Close all the open dialog box.

Word will now use the dictionary you specified in step 7 as the dictionary for its spell checking tasks.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6092) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Expanding a Custom Dictionary.

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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