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Where does Word store its preferences and settings?

Posted on 2009-05-19
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
I am trying to recover the personal settings and preferences of Word from an old HDD. However I do not remember where Word stores this file. I remember having to do this before and there was a file that stored all the settings such as default font size, the auto-complete dictionary, and many other preferences.

Also, the version of Office that I am trying to recover the file from is 2003 and the one that is now being used is 2007. Will there be any issues just copying the file over to keep the settings, or will anything in particular have to be done. Is this at all possible?
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Question by:Appnet
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Expert Comment

by:Xcone
ID: 24422941
Word settings/options are stored in the registry in various locations. Customisation to the Commandbars and fonts, default text, etc. is stored in a file named "Normal.dot".

There'll be no changes to the font in the switch from Office 2003 to 2007, but Commandbars will no longer be present where you'd exect them. They are located in a separate tab called "addins" in office 2007.
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Author Comment

by:Appnet
ID: 24422985
Normal.dot...that is one of the files I was looking for...thanks....however does it store the auto complete words? There are a lot in the old word that need to be recovered.
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Expert Comment

by:Xcone
ID: 24423019
The file "Normal.dot" is stored in the "User Template" folder. Which defaults in office 2007 to something like:
C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates

Unfortunatly, I don't have an example folder at hand of Word 2003. But I figure it'd be somehting simular.

The 'Users" folder is a Vista folder. If your old HDD contains Win XP or older, you'll need to look in the "Documents & Settings" folder.

If all else fails, just perform a filesearch on the HDD to "Normal.dot" (which is possibly the easiest anyway)
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Expert Comment

by:Xcone
ID: 24423046
Autotexts are also stored inside normal.dot at default. Unless you specify another file to store them in. But that would have to be a Word document also. But normal.dot is the most likely.

Autotext will also still work in Word 2007
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Author Comment

by:Appnet
ID: 24423208
I am sure I can find the normal.dot once I hook up the old HDD with a HDD converter, I found it in 07 already. However, I still need to find where Word 03 stores the auto-complete words. Any suggestions?

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Author Comment

by:Appnet
ID: 24423364
I will test it out and let you know. Thanks
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Expert Comment

by:Xcone
ID: 24423386
Auto complete words (or autotexts) are most likely in Normal.dot. It's the default location for any customization. If they're not in normal.dot, you (or someone else) have chosen another location for it, and I wont be much help on this as it could be any document.

If the autotexts are available to you even if don't have a document open, the search is narrowed. Try finding your Startup folder for word. Any documenttemplates (*.dot) in this folder will automaticly be opened as a template which allows you to use it's autotexts even if you don't have these files fully opened (Word opens them invisibly).

Please note, that autotexts won't appear in Word 2007 as autotext, but as "Quick Part". Look for it on the "Insert" tab.
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Author Comment

by:Appnet
ID: 24423443
Thanks for the reminder about the Quick Part. That took me forever to figure out the last time I had to transfer settings for someone from 03 to 07. It was a while ago I would have prob forgot again...
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Author Comment

by:Appnet
ID: 24425331
I have copied over the .dot file from the old HDD with Word 03 onto the new pc with Word 07. I don't seem to be finding where the auto complete list is. I went under "Quick Part" but was unable to view the words that had been manually entered.

I am not sure if I explained what I was looking for wrong or not. With Word 03 you could manually add words to your dictionary or autocomplete (can't remember the name) and then when you started to type it it would auto complete it for you. I am trying to find where those words are listed so that I can verify that they were brought over.
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Author Comment

by:Appnet
ID: 24425362
They were actually entered into word 03 under the AutoText tab...
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Accepted Solution

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Xcone earned 500 total points
ID: 24426982
In Word 2007, "Normal.dot" is called "Normal.dotm", and uses a different file structure (simply renaming will probably not suffice). Chance is, you need to open the Word 2003 normal.dot in Word 2007, and save it as normal.dotm. Then find the current normal.dotm fo Word 2007 and replace it with the one you just saved.

I 've never converted a 2003 normal.dot to a 2007 normal.dotm. But I can image the steps above must be taken before anything would properly work. If you could upload the 2003 normal.dot I'll figure out the exact steps for you.

PS. Word of advice. If these autotexts are so important, that they have to move along to the next verison of Word, than they shouldn't be stored in normal.dot. Any settings and customization done by the user that is not stored in the registry (which is quite a few things) is stored in Normal.dot. Because of this, Normal.dot could get corrupted once in a while. Which would mean the complete loss of all these autotexts which are stored in it.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Appnet
ID: 31583037
Thanks!
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