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Create a Universal Dictionary for Office with OneDrive

I work on a variety of computers at home and at work and it’s a pain to have to reconfigure the same applications over and over and over again.  In this example, I’d like to show you how you can store your dictionary used by Microsoft Office in SkyDrive to create one universal dictionary for all of your Office applications on all of your PCs.

In Microsoft Office 2003, 2007, and 2010, your custom dictionary file is located at C:\Users\USERPROFILEFOLDER\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\UProof by default (replace USERPROFILEFOLDER with the appropriate user name).
You can see it’s nothing fancy. It’s only a simple text file in which each line lists one word that you’ve added to the dictionary. In my world, “AutoSPInstaller,” “SPSite,” and “SPWeb” are words that I’ve repeatedly had to “Add to Dictionary.”
 
This gets to be really annoying when I have to do the same thing on every machine, but I’ve found an easy way to use OneDrive that solves this problem. There are some things you’ll need to do:
 
  1. If you haven’t already, sign up for OneDrive: http://www.OneDrive.com.
  2. Download the OneDrive app so that you can selectively sync folders from OneDrive to your local machine: http://bit.ly/Rd9ruD.
  3. Create a folder in OneDrive name “CONFIG” and in that folder, create another folder named “Office.” Of course you can name these folders whatever you want or not use folders at all, but I recommend that you do to avoid confusion later on down the road.
  4. Copy your custom Office dictionary file to OneDrive.
  5. Update the settings in your Office applications to use the dictionary that you’ve got stored in OneDrive.
  6. Use the “Add to Dictionary” function in Office to add whatever words you like, watch your dictionary in OneDrive update, and enjoy the fact that you no longer have to do this separately for each machine on which you work!

Sign Up for OneDrive

Do this at http://www.OneDrive.com. I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory, so I’ll move on to the next step.
 

Download the OneDrive app

Do this at http://bit.ly/Rd9ruD. Again, pretty self-explanatory, so let’s move forward to the next step.
 

Create Folders in OneDrive

Once you’ve got the OneDrive app connected to your PC, you’ll see it appear under your “Favorites” on the left navigation pane in Windows Explorer as shown below. If you navigate to it, just right-click anywhere in the right pane to create a new folder just like you’re used to doing in Windows Explorer already.  As I mentioned, I created a “CONFIG” folder and then created an “Office” folder within that.
 
Once you’ve created the folders, they’ll automatically synchronize with OneDrive and after a few seconds, you’ll see that the folders have a green checkmark overlaid on top of them just like in my screenshots above.
 

Copy Your Custom Office Dictionary File to OneDrive

On your PC, navigate to C:\Users\USERPROFILEFOLDER\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\UProof and copy the CUSTOM.DIC file. Again, you’ll need to replace “USERPROFILEFOLDER” with the appropriate user name. For example, on my PC, my user name is “eskaggs” and so the path to my custom dictionary file is C:\Users\eskaggs\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\UProof\CUSTOM.DIC.
I copied that file to my OneDrive at C:\Users\eskaggs\OneDrive\CONFIG\Office.
 
Almost done! Now that we’ve got the file synced with OneDrive, it’s time to update the settings in Office to point to this file.
 

Update Your Office Settings

The next few steps here will be specific to Word 2010, but should be similar for other Office applications and other versions of Office.
In Word 2010, navigate to the backstage by clicking the “File” menu and then click “Options.”
 
The “Word Options” dialog will open. On this dialog, select the “Proofing” tab and then click the “Custom Dictionaries…” button.
On the “Custom Dictionaries” dialog, use the “Browse…” button to change the path of your custom dictionary to the same path to which you copied it within OneDrive. Note that you’re pointing to the folder path and not directly to the CUSTOM.DIC file itself.
 
That’s it! You’re all set to start adding words to your dictionary through Word 2010.
Since your custom dictionary is now in OneDrive, you can configure most any Office application in most any version of Office on any PC to use it and this will prevent you from having to “Add to Dictionary” on each machine!

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