Transfer Word custom keyboard shortcuts

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Reader Kang Na would like to customize his Word 2011 experience across computers. He writes:

I’ve added some keyboard shortcut to Microsoft Word 2011 but would like to know the best way to back up and copy the settings to my other computer, so that my keyboard shortcuts will work on all my Macs. What file holds these customizations?

Word gives you a hint when you add a keyboard shortcut. When you choose Tools -> Customize Keyboard, the resulting Customize Keyboard window shows a Save Changes In entry at the bottom of the window. By default, the following pop-up menu reads Normal.dotm. This is the default Word template.

This template holds not only your custom keyboard shortcuts but also custom toolbars, macros, styles, and auto text entries. By default this file is located in youruserfolder/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates. To move your customizations to another Mac, just copy this file to the same location on that Mac, replacing the existing Normal.dotm file (Word can’t be running when you do this).

Optionally, you can place this Normal.dotm file elsewhere on the Mac and point Word to it. You do this by opening Word’s Preferences, choosing File Locations in the Personal Settings area, selecting User Templates, clicking Modify button, selecting the enclosing folder of the Normal.dotm file, and clicking Choose.

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At a Glance
  • Pros

    • Full parity with Word for Windows
    • The return of VBA
    • Much better, redesigned UI that matches the Windows UI
    • Document formatting is much easier


    • Likely to be much more than most non-business users need
    • Does not track changes made to images added to documents
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