Sunday, September 7, 2014

Guest Blogger 9/7/14

The Search For Custom.dic

It began innocuously enough -- subtly, gradually. But soon the need consumed me and I was helpless before it.

Ah-ah, get your mind out of the gutter. It may be keeping mine company, but that's not a good place for it.

I refer, of course, to the file that lists the words that I've added to the spellchecker in Microsoft Word. Custom.dic. If you have Word, you have a custom.dic.

It's not my fault they named it that.

First it was funny -- Wherehouse Entertainment comes up as Whorehouse  Entertainment and I decide quickly that 'Wherehouse' is something I'd better add to the custom.dic file. Then there's all those employee names I'm always using. Roger, and Sheryl, and Fran, and Debbie. Gotta add those, too, otherwise you're forever telling the machine, "Yeah, I know Fran and yes, it's spelled right!"

Then little by little, you find you're adding words by the dozens and can't seem to stop. What's one more word? Anaheim, sure. I'll use that again. Solipsistic, yeah, gotta have that one.

Soon you're adding acronyms. DPA, PD0, and CAC certainly need to be there.

Then one day, you're checking a letter and Pow! the spellchecker throws a word up there that you've never seen before. It wants to change 'Barstow' to 'Barctow'. Barctow? How in the world did Barctow get into the custom.dic as a proper word?

Thus begins the search. To find the custom.dic and rid it of irregularities.

You look on the d:, and the s:, and the k: drives. Not there. You look on the c: drive but can't find it there, either.

But it must be there; Word is based on c:, so it has to be with Word.

Wait! Here's a Find File feature in File Manager. Could it? Would it?

Trembling fingers type in the word 'custom.dic' and press enter.

One file found! It's hiding on c:, but in a subdirectory of a subdirectory of a subdirectory. Custom.dic doesn't want to be found.

You wouldn't believe the words I took out of there. Some were recognizable, barely. Others had no place in the English language.

Today I have a slimmer, trimmer custom.dic and it's clean as a whistle.

Unlike your mind.

Copyright 2014 Michelle Hakala


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