Office:mac 2011 VBA GetSetting continues to work after deleting the plist file

I am writing a VBA add-in for Office:mac 2011.

I use the SaveSetting, GetSetting, DeleteSetting trio for storing user preferences as done in Windows. Unlike Windows, Mac is not using a registry but individual plist files.

Let's say I save a setting like this:
SaveSetting "myAppName", "mySection", "myKey", "mySetting"

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It will create the following file:


I can the return the setting in the Immediate window:
?GetSetting ("myAppName", "mySection", "myKey", "?")
returns -> mySetting

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If I now delete that plist file and try to get the get the setting again, one would expect to get the default "?" returned but surprisingly, the string "mySetting" is returned!

I used a specialist tool to search my entire Mac for any other copies of myAppName.plist and found none so is Microsoft Office storing a backup copy with a different name somewhere?

I need to delete all traces of the app's plist file(s) to be able to test a user first run experience.
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Jamie GarrochSenior Technical Consultant at BrightCarbonAsked:
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Did you quit the application before deleting the plist? The application probably keeps the plist information in memory and writes it to the disk on quitting.
Also, check for preferences in


as well as in

Jamie GarrochSenior Technical Consultant at BrightCarbonAuthor Commented:
Hi strung.

I was hoping your first suggestion might be the answer but I started PowerPoint, created a new blank deck and issued a single SaveSetting statement to create a new plist file. I then closed PowerPoint, deleted the plist file, started PowerPoint and used the GetSetting statement to successfully return the value that shouldn't exist!

I had already checked multiple Library locations and various MSO folders for duplicates but not found any.

Interestingly, if I try to save the exact same setting again, the plist file isn't regenerated but if I change the value, it is.

I have decided to write a DeleteAllSettings function but I'd still like to solve this issue as I want to be able to deploy default settings in a plist file during installation of the add-in. Currently, if I edit the add-in's plist file with a text editor, the changes are not returned using GetSetting!!!
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I wonder if the setting is being stored in a generalized Office plist file rather than a specific PPT one.

Try this:

Close all apps. Delete the plist in question.

Open a Finder window to the root of your hard drive.

In the search window, search for


Click the + button on the top right and change "kind" is "any"  to "System Files" "Are Included"

Make sure the Finder window is large enough to show the column "last modified".

Click on the column heading to see what are the most recently changed plist files.

Restart PPT. Use your script to change the plist entry to something new and see what plist files change. Then close PPT and see what plist files change.
Jamie GarrochSenior Technical Consultant at BrightCarbonAuthor Commented:
I've just conducted another test using the "Find Any File" utility. I forced PowerPoint to regenerate my test plist file and then set Find Any File to search for all files on my system (and I mean ALL files, including system ones) with the criteria  "creation date is within the past 1 minute". It found 3 files, one of which is my plist file and the other two appear to be unrelated; "Local State" (binary), "TransportSecurity" (binary). So I am really confused as to how PowerPoint is recalling settings from plist files!
Close PPT. Delete the plist file. Open PPT. Close it again. Then manually examine the plist file, rather than using your script to see if you key has been added back in.
Jamie GarrochSenior Technical Consultant at BrightCarbonAuthor Commented:
I used Find Any File to do the same search (I gave up on Finder earlier today as it didn't list my add-in's plist file but did find loads of others when set to include system files).

I found the following files modified after saving a setting and closing PowerPoint (the only MSO app to be opened):


Neither of the last two have any readable reference to the setting I changed in myAppName.plist :-(

I say readable as they are XML files but the PowerPoint one has this node at the start of the file:

<key>14\File Aliases\Alias ID: 420</key>

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Jamie GarrochSenior Technical Consultant at BrightCarbonAuthor Commented:
I followed your suggestion:

Close PPT. Delete the plist file. Open PPT. Close it again. Then manually examine the plist file, rather than using your script to see if you key has been added back in.

The plist file never reappears in the expected ~/Library/Preferences location unless I use script to add a new setting or modify an existing one so I can't manually examine it.
You should be able to read the plist files with Property List Editor:
Jamie GarrochSenior Technical Consultant at BrightCarbonAuthor Commented:
I extended the time-based search after regenerating the plist file from PowerPoint VBA to "all files modified in the last minute" and got a larger result, one of which could be a candidate but it's a binary file:

PowerPoint file
Jamie GarrochSenior Technical Consultant at BrightCarbonAuthor Commented:
I've decided to abandon this reverse-engineering approach and will deploy settings in my own file format and have VBA read them from that file and save them using SaveSetting back out to wherever PowerPoint is mysteriously keeping the data! Yet another reason why Office:mac VBA programming is so unproductive!!!

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Martin LissOlder than dirtCommented:
This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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