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Sharing Custom Dictionaries in PowerPoint 2011 (and Office) for Mac

Learn how to share custom dictionaries for use in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac and other Office 2011 programs.


Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2011
OS: Mac OS X

Each logged-in user for Mac OS X is allotted a separate default custom dictionary in Office 2011. Not surprisingly, this is a file called Custom Dictionary located within each user's Library folder on the Mac. In addition, as a user you can create and use many more custom dictionaries. Over time, your custom dictionaries may become a very useful resource, especially since any custom dictionary loaded is used by all the Office applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Let us assume that you have added several words to a custom dictionary over the last few years, and now you need to move to a new computer. Or, probably you have a colleague who is going to help you with some documentation, and you obviously want him or her to use your custom dictionary. To share the actual custom dictionary files (.dic), you first need to find out where they are stored on your computer. In Office 2011 on Mac OS X the default location of custom dictionaries is:

Macintosh HD:Users:<username>:Library:Application Support:Microsoft:Office:Preferences:Office 2011

Note: Many of the tasks related to custom dictionary editing cannot be done within PowerPoint -- in fact you need to do these tasks in Word. Fortunately though, any changes made within Word reflect within PowerPoint as well. Most techniques explained in this page therefore pertain to both PowerPoint and Word.

This process will help you to take a look at the loaded dictionaries within PowerPoint 2011:

  1. Launch Word 2011 if it is not already open, and then choose the Word | Preferences menu option, as shown in Figure 1.

    Choose Word | Preferences
    Figure 1: Choose Word | Preferences

  2. This opens the Word Preferences dialog box -- select the Spelling and Grammar option that you can see highlighted in red within Figure 2.

    Spelling and Grammar option within Word Preferences dialog box
    Figure 2: Spelling and Grammar option within Word Preferences dialog box

  3. This opens the Spelling and Grammar dialog box. In this dialog box, click on the Dictionaries button (highlighted in red within Figure 3).

    Spelling and Grammar dialog box
    Figure 3: Spelling and Grammar dialog box

  4. This summons the Custom Dictionaries dialog box (see Figure 4). All loaded custom dictionaries are listed within the Custom Dictionaries dialog box. Note that we have four custom dictionaries and all of them have been enabled.

    Custom dictionaries listed within the Custom Dictionaries dialog box
    Figure 4: Custom dictionaries listed within the Custom Dictionaries dialog box

    All these custom dictionaries have been placed within the default location:

    Macintosh HD:Users:<username>:Library:Application Support:Microsoft:Office:Preferences:Office 2011

  5. Now, to copy any of these custom dictionaries, open the Finder and navigate to the default location of custom dictionaries so that you can see all custom dictionaries together, as shown in Figure 5.

    Custom dictionaries within thier default location
    Figure 5: Custom dictionaries within their default location

    Tip: Figure 5 above shows all the dictionary files together within Mac OS X Finder, because we changed the view option to arrange icons by kind. You can use the Control +Command+5 keyboard shortcut to make the same arrangement for your files.

  6. Click on the dictionary file you want to copy. Thereafter, you can easily copy this file to a thumb drive, or external hard disk, or even send the dictionary file (.dic) via email. Once the dictionary file is thus shared, it can be easily loaded onto another system using the process explained in our Load Custom Dictionaries tutorial.

  7. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Sharing Custom Dictionaries in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Sharing Custom Dictionaries in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows


Office 2008 for Mac All-in-One For Dummies Office 2011 for Mac All-in-One For Dummies

If you liked this tutorial, do look at this book, authored by Geetesh Bajaj and James Gordon.

This book is the single most comprehensive content for Microsoft's latest Office suite offering for Mac users.

Check the book on Amazon.com...

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