Whoa Nelly! You've Got How Many AutoCorrect Entries?

Is there a limit on how many AutoCorrect entries Microsoft Office can handle?

This question was recently asked on a Microsoft Word Forum.

The general response coming from online experts seemed to be, "Not that I'm aware of …"

The person asking the question then said their ACL file (AutoCorrect Library file) was 2,820 KB in size and they were afraid it had corrupted because Word was crashing every time they attempted to add a new AutoCorrect entry.

I asked the person if they were willing to send me a copy of the file and I would happily look to see if I could figure out what was happening. The next day I received a link to download the troubled ACL file from a gentleman in Australia.

A bit of AC background…

In the arena of Microsoft Office AutoCorrects there are two types:

  • Plain Text AutoCorrect entries, stored in Office's ACL file.

  • Formatted AutoCorrect entries, stored in Word's Normal template.

Plain Text AutoCorrects are available to all the Office applications, while the Formatted AC's are only available to Word. As their names imply, Plain Text AC's do not contain any text formatting and can only be comprised of text. On the other hand, Formatted AC's can be text or graphics and can contain paragraph and character style formatting.

Anyone who has used Word has most likely seen AutoCorrect, at least the Plain Text variety, in action.

When you incorrectly type a word that is in the Plain Text ACL file, Word will automatically correct the spelling. If you type a left parenthesis followed by the letter c and then a right parenthesis, your three-letter combo is magically transformed into a copyright symbol ©. This is all done with AutoCorrects.

AutoCorrects are not limited in length, so unique combos of three or four characters can expand into a full sentence, paragraph, or even a whole page of text. And Formatted AutoCorrect entries can include pictures, graphics and full text style formatting.

AutoCorrect entries are a sorely underutilized productivity feature of Microsoft Office!

Now back to the problem faced by this person from Australia and their Plain Text ACL file… was it corrupted?

The answer concerning file corruption was no, the file was fine. The problem was that their ACL file simply was full. The end user had succeeded reaching the maximum number of entries allowed.

Microsoft has never documented what the limitation is on the number of ACL entries, but I was able to find it by using our free Word add-in - AuthorTec AutoCorrect - which backs up and restores AutoCorrect entries.

And the answer is…

The limitation is 65,536 plain text AC entries. To put that number in perspective, Word automatically creates an ACL file for each language you are using and there are 913 pre-loaded entries per language. So, Whoa Nelly! That Aussie had been really busy creating AC entries ;)

To protect your ACL entries checkout AuthorTec AutoCorrect

This free MS Word add-in will allow you to begin caring and sharing with your mates those important AutoCorrect and AutoText productivity entries you have created. And it will allow you to restore those entries when you change versions of Word or move to a new machine.

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Written by Richard V. Michaels, M.Ed.

Chief Product Architect, Great Circle Learning
Microsoft Office Services MVP