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Microsoft KB Archive/100370

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How to Remove Word for Windows Custom Dictionaries


The information in this article applies to:

  • Microsoft Word for Windows, versions 2.0, 2.0a, 2.0a-CD, 2.0b, 2.0c, 6.0, 6.0a, 6.0c


Once you create a custom dictionary in Word for Windows using the Tools Options Spelling command, you cannot remove the custom dictionary simply by deleting its reference in the [MS Proofing Tools] section of the Windows WIN.INI file. If the custom dictionary file remains in one of the following locations, Word finds the file and adds its reference back to WIN.INI next time you start Word:

Note: Word searches for the .DIC file in the order listed.

  • The TOOLS-path directory (set in the [Microsoft Word 2.0] section of WIN.INI).
  • The custom dictionary path (set by the PROOF setting in the [MSAPPS] section of WIN.INI; the default setting is C:\WINDOWS\MSAPPS\PROOF). Word does not search for .DIC files in any subdirectories of the custom dictionary path.
  • The Word program directory (set by the PROGRAMDIR setting in the [Microsoft Word 2.0] section of WIN.INI).

When Word searches for dictionary files in the above locations, it adds any file with a .DIC filename extension to the WIN.INI file as a custom dictionary.


To remove a custom dictionary, you must delete the .DIC file, rename it with a different file extension, or move it to a location other than one of those listed above so Word does not find it when you start the program.


For example, if you delete the following line from the [MS Proofing Tools] section of your WIN.INI file but do not delete or move the .DIC file to a different location, Word adds the entry back to WIN.INI next time you start the program:


Word for Windows 6.0

The information for the active dictionaries in Word for Windows 6.0 is kept under Tools/Options/Spelling just like version 2.0, however, custom dictionary properties are different in determining the active dictionary and for adding and deleting the dictionary.

To properly delete a custom dictionary in Word for Windows 6.0, choose Options from the Tools menu. Select the Spelling tab. Choose the dictionary you want to delete from the list. This does not actually delete the dictionary rather it only deletes the reference. Unlike version 2.0, Word will not reference that dictionary in the next session of Word for Windows. Then delete the dictionary file from the disk.

Errors Generated

If the user deletes or moves the dictionary file without removing the reference under Tools/Options/Spelling and then tries to spell check, an error will occur:

There is no custom dictionary C:\WINWORD\CUSTOM.DIC. Do you want to create it?

If you choose "YES", Word will create a custom dictionary, place it in the WINWORD directory and place the reference under Tools/Options/Spelling. If the user chooses, "NO" and no previous references for custom dictionaries exists in the custom dictionary list then Word will not flag the user and the "Add" button will be gray in the Spelling dialog box. If, however, the user chooses "NO" and there are previous references to dictionaries that have been moved or deleted, Word will create a new custom.dic file named after the last referenced custom dictionary and place it in the WINWINWORD2 directory.

For example, if you have dictionary called (and in this order):


and you move or delete these files and then try to spell check without removing the references in the Spelling options dialog box, you will be warned that the custom dictionary cannot be found two seperate times one right after the other and asked if you want to create the custom dictionary. If you say "NO", Word will create a dictionary called:


and place it in the WINWINWORD2 directory.

Additional query words: 2.0 winword word6 winword2

Keywords : kbproof
Issue type : kbhowto
Technology :

Last Reviewed: November 4, 2000
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