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Word Macros and Visual Basic® for Applications FAQ

Sub-categories: [Beginners' tips] [Returning information] [Bookmarks] [Built-in dialogs] [Events] [Properties] [Printers] [Ranges & selections] [Tables] [Strings, Dates and Find & Replace] [Menus & Toolbars] [Other Objects & Collections] [Fields, Forms & Protected Documents] [Variables and Arrays] [Files and Directories] [Extracting data] [Miscellaneous] [Errors and Bugs]
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Beginners' tips

How to modify a recorded macro

What do I do with macros sent to me by other users to help me out?
I don't know how to install them and put them to use

What are the underscores _ at the end of lines of code there for?

Getting to grips with VBA basics in 15 minutes

Creating a macro with no programming experience using the recorder

How to assign a Word command or macro to a toolbar or menu

How to assign a Word command or macro to a hot-key

Assigning custom button images to your toolbar and menu buttons

How to get a menu button that is assigned to a macro to display the keyboard shortcut on the menu

Making the transition from WordBasic to VBA

Why variables should be declared properly

How to prevent other users from seeing and changing your VBA code

Organizing your macros

Run a macro when a user double-clicks a button in the document

Enable a user to double-click text in a document to change its value


Eg: change a Y to an N and then to a ? and then back to a Y

Using {Macrobutton} fields to insert information from the Outlook Address Book into documents such as letters

Changing the mouse cursor


Eg: from an I-beam to an hourglass and back

Export all the code from a code module to a text file

When to use parentheses to enclose subroutine and function arguments

The art of defensive programming
Or how to write code that will be easy to maintain

How to cut out repetition and write much less code, by using subroutines and functions that take arguments

Distributing macros to other users

The best way to set a timer to time your macros

Returning information

How to check whether Word is open

Determine whether the insertion point is located at the end of a document

Detect whether a table cell is empty

Determine the page number at the current cursor position

Determine the number of pages in a document

How to get the column number of the selection (in a document containing snaking, or newspaper-style, columns)

Determine the position of the cursor on the page in points
(72 pts. = 1 inch = 2.54 cm)

Determine the index number of the current paragraph, table, section ...
Or of any object that has a Range property

Determine whether the selection is at the start of a paragraph
Or of the current table, or section – or of any object that has a Range property

Detect whether the first character in a selection is alphanumeric

How to find out whether the current document is running in another application (such as Internet Explorer, Outlook, etc.)

Working with bookmarks

Working with bookmarks

Inserting text at a bookmark without deleting the bookmark

How to create a menu to navigate to the non-hidden bookmarks in a document

Export or extract bookmarks

For a ready-to-use add-in with macros that can extract acronymns, bookmarks, comments and tracked changes, see the free DocTools ExtractData add-in.

Working with built-in dialogs

Task Panes Reference

Getting help with calling Word's built-in dialogs using VBA (and why doing so can be much more useful than you'd think)

Calling FileOpen dialog in VBA does not allow opening of multiple files

How to change the directory of the Save As dialog

How to set the default suggested filename to be displayed by the Save As dialog the first time a user saves a new document

Passwords not saved when calling FileSaveAs dialog from VBA

Force the user to save documents into a particular folder or a subfolder of that folder

How to get the full path from the SaveAs dialog

Force the File New dialog to display in List view

Intercept the Keyboard... button on the ToolsCustomize dialog box

Working with events

Run a macro automatically when Word starts or quits

Run a macro automatically when a document is created, opened or closed

Writing application event procedures
Or how to intercept events affecting any open document, such as the user changing focus from one document to another

How to create global event procedures similar to AutoOpen, AutoNew and AutoClose, without using Normal.dot

Intercepting events like Save and Print

A Pseudo DocumentBeforeClose Event
Or: How to perform validation on a document when the user tries to close it.

How can I prevent Word from running macros automatically when I create a new instance of Word, open a Word document or create a new one?

Assigning a macro to the tab key

Change the behavior of the tab key inside a table cell

Prevent a user from interrupting a macro with Ctrl+Break

Prevent a file from showing up on the recently used files list

How can I prevent users from editing the header of a document in Word 2000 or higher?

How can I prevent users from editing the header of a Word 97 document?

Working with properties

How can I get access to the Document Properties of a Word file without opening the document?

How to use a single VBA procedure to read or write both custom and built-in Document Properties

Highlight any misspelled words, so that unrecognized words stand out prominently on a printout

Clear all highlighting from a document

Turning Allow spacing between cells off with VBA in a Word 2000 table

Working with printers

How can I get a list of the available printer names?

How to find out whether Word has finished printing

How to use VBA to set duplex printing on or off

Macros for booklet printing in Word 2000

How to set the paper tray to be used when printing

Changing the selected (current) printer in Word without changing the system default printer

Suppressing message The margins of section 1 are set outside the printable area of the page. Do you want to continue? when printing from VBA

Print all documents in a given folder to a single print file

How can I print colored text to a mono printer in pure black & white (no shades of grey)?

How can I reset the File + Print dialog so that it's not set to Print to File, after running code which prints a document to a file?

Paragraph borders lost when printing from a VBA macro

Working with ranges and selections (not including Tables)

How to select – or set a Range object – to the page that the cursor is on

Determine the index number of the current paragraph
Or of the current table, or section – or of any object that has a Range property

How to move a range variable to the end of an inserted file after using [range].InsertFile

Delete any paragraph that is an exact duplicate of the preceding paragraph, using a Range object

Delete any paragraph that is an exact duplicate of the preceding paragraph, using a Selection object

How to find out whether a range is off-screen

How to get the column number of the selection (in a document containing snaking, or newspaper-style, columns)

Working with Tables

Maximising the performance of Word tables

How can I resize a table to fit the page's width?

Deleting duplicate rows in a table

Deleting all empty rows in a table using a macro

Detect whether a table cell is empty

Delete all rows of a table that contain a particular text string in the first column

Determine the index number of the current paragraph, table, section ...
Or of any object that has a Range property

Apply changes to all cells in a table

Apply changes to an individual cell in a table

Select all but the first two cells in a table column

Display in a message box the contents of each cell in a table column

Select a range of cells within a table

Select all rows of a table except the first row

How to centre a left-justified table (or left or right-justify a centred one)

How to get the Rowspan and Colspan of a table cell using VBA

Change the behavior of the tab key inside a table cell

Turning Allow spacing between cells off with VBA in a Word 2000 table

Apply uniform table borders to all tables in a document

Working with strings, dates and Find & Replace

How do I return the date of the previous month using VBA?

Using a macro to replace text where ever it appears in a document including Headers, Footers, Textboxes, etc.

How to Find & ReplaceAll on a batch of documents in the same folder

Clear settings from Find and replace dialog to prevent unexpected results from future Find or Replace operations

Flush bad karma from Word's find facility after an unsuccessful wildcard search

How to prevent the built-in BrowseNext and RepeatFind commands from creating bad karma for wildcard searches

How to find out, using VBA, how many replacements Word made during a Find & Replace All

Or: How to find out how many occurrences there are of a particular word in a document

Finding and replacing symbols

Detect when Word is trapped with a partial wildcard match at the very end of a document

Finding out how many times some text appears in a document

How to use Edit Find to select everything from where the cursor is to the first found item

How to replace text in quotation marks with italic or highlighted text minus the quotes

Change all dates in a document from MMMM DD, YYYY to DD MMMM YYYY

Replace each instance of the text string Document One with the contents of a file called c:\test\Doc1.doc

Replace one character with another wherever it appears in a string

Remove the underline attribute from characters with descenders

Apply the built-in Heading 1 paragraph style to all paragraphs containing text in ALL CAPS

Remove all empty paragraphs from a document

Working with menus and toolbars

Task Panes Reference

How to stop the web toolbar from jumping up at you whenever you click on a page number in the table of contents

How to get a true full screen view

Add a menu to the menu bar and populate it with commands

Add a toolbar button to launch an executable file

How to use VBA to set a custom graphic on a toolbar button

Force a command bar to display all of its commands, even if this forces the command bar to wrap to a second or third line

How to set the position on the screen of the toolbars and menu bars

Protect command bars against changes

Remove items from the Customize menu

How do I find out or change programmatically which macro is attached to a button on my toolbar?

How to programmatically disable the Word 2000+ Menus show recently used commands first setting under Tools + Customize

How to create a menu to navigate to the non-hidden bookmarks in a document

Toolbar missing on add-ins tab in the Ribbon

Working with other objects and collections

How to convert the hyperlinks in a document to plain text
Or: How to prevent URLs from being converted to hyperlinks while I type

Manipulating the clipboard using VBA
How to clear the clipboard or get the text on the clipboard into a string variable 

Size the text in a textbox to fill the textbox

When I position a floating object (such as a text box or graphic) Relative to Page in Word 2000, it doesn't end up where it should – why doesn't it?

Move shape anchors away from heading paragraphs

The simplest way, using VBA, to reset part of a style definition (e.g. the font name), so it inherits the definition of the style it is based on

Cycle a paragraph through all available paragraph styles, eventually returning to the style the paragraph started with

How to safely update a document's styles from its template without using the Organizer (and how to make the Tools + Templates and Add-ins dialog safe)

Scroll all open documents the same percentage as the active document

How to generate a table of samples of every font on your system

Let Clippy dance
How to display all the animations of the Office Assistant

Working with fields, forms & protected documents

Inserting nested fields using VBA

How to enable the spellchecker in a protected document

How to change the behaviour of Word's document protection, so users formfields don't get reset when they unprotect and reprotect

The best way to select a form field using VBA

How to set the "tab order" of a Word form

How to validate the contents of a formfield in a Word form

How to set the result of a text formfield using VBA, if the string is longer then 256 characters

How to set the result of a text formfield in a Word 2000 table, using VBA, if the string contains carriage returns

How to assign a Name to a FormField that doesn't already have a Name, using VBA

Change Headers and Footers in a document protected for forms

Create a numbered list using SEQuence fields

Unlink all fields in the body of a document

Unlink all fields in the headers and footers of a document

How to hide a Print CommandButton on a document form when the user clicks on it

How to find the name of the current formfield

Add screen tips to text in Word
How to add small boxes with information that appear when you hover the mouse over over text in a document as known from links on websites.

Working with variables and arrays

Why variables should be declared properly

Create a module-level variable that can be used by any procedure (sub or function) within a module

How can I sort an array?

When I sort an array it becomes filled with numbers instead of text

Using the Erase statement to clear an array

Working with files and directories

How to allow the user to browse to and select a folder

How to Find & ReplaceAll on a batch of documents in the same folder

Skipping Password-Protected Documents in a Batch Process

How to check if a file has already been opened by another user

How to copy an open file using VBA

How to create a copy of an open document

How to save a document using a filename that gets incremented by 1 each time if the filename already exists

Insert into a document the names of all files in a selected folder

How to retrieve Word's default Documents path or Pictures path setting

How to delete files using VBA, including files which may be readonly

How to read the filenames of all the files in a directory into an array
For instance, in order to populate a list box

How to get the names of all the folders in the folder tree, starting from a specified folder

How to ensure (using VBA) that all your Word add-ins are installed in the correct path

Extracting or exporting data from Word documents

Export or extract acronyms

Export or extract bookmarks

Export or extract comments

Export or extract tracked changes

For a ready-to-use add-in that can extract acronymns, bookmarks, comments and tracked changes, see the free DocTools ExtractData add-in

Miscellaneous

How to do a mail merge to the printer using VBA, without displaying the Print dialog
Or in the case of Word 2002, how to do the opposite!

How to do a screen capture using VBA
Or: How to invoke the print screen command

How to get the username of the current user

Useful WordBasic commands that have no VBA equivalent

How to send an email from Word using VBA

How to get the most recently used document to be opened automatically when you open Word

Creating upside down or rotated text in Word

How can I tile documents vertically in Word 2000?

Find out whether Word was launched from its shortcut or by double-clicking a file

How to open a document invisibly to the user

How to activate a newly-created document

How to link a Word table with a Word graph

How to customize the Control Toolbox in the VBA Editor
So you don't have to set up all the properties for your controls every time you add one to a UserForm

Invalid Page Fault message when running a macro
Or: Combatting Template Bloat

Displaying WinHelp files from VBA

Creating sequentially numbered documents (such as invoices)

Sequentially numbering multiple copies of single document using a macro

How to remove manually typed numbering from a document

How to copy text and retain numbers when pasting elsewhere

I want the numbers in my footnotes not to be superscripted, and I want the numbers to be followed by a dot and a tab

How to speed up Word Automation by hiding the application

How to create list of local built-in style names

And a few gotchas

Whenever I update my Table of Contents it acquires unwanted tabs, and I have to press Ctrl+Q to get rid of them

How to make urls (and delimiters such as \, /, : and @) wordwrap in Word
Or: How to insert a zero-width space in your documents

Word commands, and their descriptions, default shortcuts and menu assignments

Create or edit AutoText via VBA

Errors and Bugs

Invalid Page Fault message when running a macro
Or: Keeping Word VBA projects clean

Microsoft Forms: Could not load an object because it is not available on this machine

Undefined Variable – Mid, Left, Right not working

Problem running a UserForm from an Autoexec macro

Word 2000 documents opened or created with the Visible:=False parameter can't be made visible again, and/or don't trigger a Close Event

When users starts Word manually, they activate the instance of Word that you previously created using CreateObject, instead of opening a new instance

Paragraph borders lost when printing from a VBA macro