Sunday, August 28, 2016

Change Computers Without Losing Your Word Settings

In our office, we recently upgraded our computers to Windows 10 and jumped from Office 2010 to Office 2016 and Office 365. The new computers now have solid state drives (which are crazy fast) and I couldn't be happier.

One of the things I'm happiest about is that even though I got a new computer and the latest version of Microsoft Office, I didn't have to start over with a blank copy of Word. I was able to transfer all of my quick parts, auto corrects, ribbon settings, and macros from my old computer to my new computer. The best part, it wasn't too hard to do.

First, let's get all of our ribbon and quick access toolbar customizations from the old computer. In Word, go to File => Options => Customize Ribbon. In the box that pops up, you'll choose the drop-down in the lower right labeled Import/Export, which is circled below. Then, choose Export All Customizations.

Save this file on a flash drive or in some other location that you can access on your new computer. Then, on the new computer, open Word and go to File => Options => Customize Ribbon. Again choose the Import/Export drop-down circled in the picture above and this time choose Import Customizations. Select the file you saved in the previous step and you will now have the same ribbon and quick access toolbar setup as on the old computer.

Of course, you will also want to bring over your Normal.dotm file from the old computer. This is where you basic page setups reside, including your default styles and your macros. To do this, open your file explorer and navigate to the following path: C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates. Obviously, you'll replace [user name] with the user name for your computer.

One important note, if you navigate to your user name and don't see a folder labeled AppData, it simply means that you are not currently viewing hidden folders. The AppData folder is hidden by default to prevent accidentally changing it's contents. To view it, navigate to the Users\[user name] folder. Then, go to the View tab on the ribbon and check the Hidden Items box:

Once you get to the Templates folder, you'll need to copy the Normal,dotm file. Then, on the new computer, navigate to the same folder and replace the Normal.dotm file on the new computer with the one from the old computer.

Next, you will want to copy all of your quick parts and other building blocks from the old computer. This time, on the old computer you'll navigate to C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Document Building Blocks\1033\16. That last number could be 10 or another number depending on which version of Word you are using. In this folder, you'll need to copy the Building and the Built-In Building files to take them to the new computer. Again, on the new computer, navigate to the same folder and paste in the files you just copied.

Lastly, let's copy over your auto-corrects. On the old computer, navigate to the following folder:  C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Office. In that folder, look for all the files named MSOXXXX.acl. The X's will be numbers. Copy all of the files that match that description and transfer them to the same folder on the new computer.

By following these steps, your new version of Microsoft Word on your new computer will be just like your old version, which will let you get up and running fast.

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