Adding Cookbook Files to MasterCook

What is a cookbook file?

Cookbooks in MasterCook 5 and greater are the .mc2 and .mcx files. The .mc2 file contains the recipe text. If the cookbook has recipe photos, it will have a companion .mcx file. To add those files to MasterCook 5 or greater, follow the two steps mentioned below.

Cookbooks in MasterCook 4 and lower are the .mcf and .mrf files. The .mcf file contains the recipe text. If the cookbook has recipe photos, it will have a companion .mrf file. To add these cookbooks to MasterCook 5 and greater, go to the Cookbooks screen. Select Open from the File menu and direct it to the .mcf file, and the cookbook will be added to MasterCook 5 or greater.

IMPORTANT: Always back up these cookbook files on a regular basis. Copy them to another disk or drive. In case of file corruption or computer failure, you will have backup files to restore.

CAUTION: Always keep these files together within the same folder on your computer. They work hand-in-hand. If you open an *.mc2 file while its *.mcx file resides in another folder on your computer, the program WILL LOSE the picture associations for the entire cookbook. You won't be able to get them back unless you restore from prior backups (*.mc2 & its *.mcx companion file).

How do I add cookbook files from MasterCook 5 or greater?

The easiest way is only TWO STEPS:

  1. Copy the cookbook files (*.mc2 and *.mcx) to the MY COLLECTION folder that is within the MasterCook folder on your computer. (Use Windows to search for the My Collection folder if necessary.) WARNING: Be sure you don't just copy a My Collection folder into the My Collection folder. That won't work. You need the MC2/MCX files inside the existing My Collection folder instead.

  2. Start up MasterCook and go to the Cookbooks screen and then select REFRESH FILE LIST from the Tools menu (or press the F5 key at the top of your keyboard) to cause MasterCook to go inventory its folders. At this time it will list the cookbook within the program.

Organizing Cookbook Collections

MasterCook comes with some cookbooks that are already organized into collection folders on your computer. For example, it created a MY COLLECTION folder within the MasterCook folder on your computer. Anytime you add cookbook files to this folder and REFRESH MasterCook's files (see the immediate paragraph above), it will show you these cookbooks within the program.

If you have hundreds of cookbooks you might find it helpful to organize them across many collection folders. The easiest way to add more collection folders to MasterCook is to close the program and create folders outside the program. For example, you can create a folder on your computer called COOKBOOKS. Within this folder you can create other folders, i.e. Sunset, Southern Living, etc. Within these folders you can store your cookbook files (*.mc2 and *.mcx).

In order for MasterCook to know where to find these cookbook files, you MUST add these folders using the Manage Collections command off the Tools menu.

After organizing your cookbook files outside the program, start up MasterCook. Select MANAGE COLLECTIONS from the Tools menu. When the Manage Collections window appears, navigate to one of the folders you created on the computer, i.e. Sunset, and select/highlight it. Press the ADD button. This causes MasterCook to 'register' this collection folder as a place to look for cookbook files. At this time MasterCook will show you all cookbooks that are within this newly added collection folder.

Anytime you want to hide a collection of cookbooks from MasterCook, all you need to do is press the REMOVE button in this same Manage Collection window. This causes MasterCook to no longer look in this folder for cookbook files. It will then remove these cookbooks from view in the program.

Why would you want to 'remove' collections from MasterCook?

The more cookbooks you have listed within MasterCook, the slower the program is going to load and function because it has more data to load and use. This is similar to trying to load a HUGE document file in Microsoft Word. Things are really slow going. Therefore, you can use the MANAGE COLLECTION window to select certain collection folders to REMOVE from the program. Don't worry. These files are NOT deleted from the computer. They are ONLY hidden from MasterCook's view.


If you have two cookbooks by the same name in different collection folders in MasterCook, it will confuse the program and cause problems. Therefore, it is important to make sure all of your cookbooks have a unique name.

NEVER rename cookbook files outside the program. This can cause the cookbooks to become corrupted within the program. Instead use the CUSTOMIZE COOKBOOK command within the Tools menu in the program to rename your cookbooks.

When trying to create a new collection folder within the Manage Collection window, you may have problems. From this window you can't create directory folders that are several layers deep. The Manage Collection window works best with shallow directories only. However, it isn't necessary to create collection folders from the Manage Collection window. You can easily create collection folders using My Computer or Windows Explorer instead, as explained above. Then use the Manage Collection window to select/highlight the folders to ADD them to MasterCook's collection.

Runtime error/Cannot Locate Cookbook: If you have a corrupt cookbook in MasterCook, when you start up the program you may receive a runtime error message or a message stating that the cookbook can't be found. You need to remove this problem cookbook file from MasterCook's collection folder and refresh MasterCook to resolve the problem.

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