Using a macro to replace text where ever it appears in a document

A collaborative effort of MVP’s Doug Robbins and Greg Maxey
with enhancements by Peter Hewett and Jonathan West

Using the Find or Replace utility on the Edit menu you can find or replace text "almost" anywhere it appears in the document. If you record that action however, the scope or "range" of the resulting recorded macro will only act on the text contained in the body of the document (or more accurately, it will only act on the part of the document that contains the insertion point). This means that if the insertion point is located in the main body of the document when your macro is executed it will have no effect on text that is in the headers or footers of the document, for example, or in a textbox, footnotes, or any other area that is outside the main body of the document.

Even the Find and Replace utility has a shortcoming. For example, text in a textbox located in a header or footer is outside the scope of the Find and Replace utility search range.

Both issues are well worth contacting http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=support.

To use a macro to find or replace text anywhere in a document, it is necessary to loop through each individual part of the document. In VBA, these parts are called StoryRanges. Each StoryRange is identified by a unique wdStoryType constant.

There are eleven different wdStoryType constants that can form the StoryRanges (or parts) of a document (ok, a few more in later versions of Word, but they have no bearing in this discussion). Simple documents may contain only one or two StoryRanges, while more complex documents may contain more. The wdStoryTypes that have a role in find and replace are:

wdCommentsStory, wdEndnotesStory, wdEvenPagesFooterStory, wdEvenPagesHeaderStory, wdFirstPageFooterStory, wdFirstPageHeaderStory, wdFootnotesStory, wdMainTextStory, wdPrimaryFooterStory, wdPrimaryHeaderStory, and wdTextFrameStory.

The complete code to find or replace text anywhere is a bit complex. Accordingly, let’s take it a step at a time to better illustrate the process. In many cases the simpler code is sufficient for getting the job done.

Step 1

The following code loops through each StoryRange in the active document and replaces the specified .Text with .Replacement.Text:

Sub FindAndReplaceFirstStoryOfEachType()

  Dim rngStory As Range

  For Each rngStory In ActiveDocument.StoryRanges

    With rngStory.Find

      .Text = "find text"

      .Replacement.Text = "I'm found"

      .Wrap = wdFindContinue

      .Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll

    End With

  Next rngStory

End Sub

(Note for those already familiar with VBA: whereas if you use Selection.Find, you have to specify all of the Find and Replace parameters, such as .Forward = True, because the settings are otherwise taken from the Find and Replace dialog's current settings, which are “sticky”, this is not necessary if using [Range].Find – where the parameters use their default values if you don't specify their values in your code).

The simple macro above has shortcomings. It only acts on the "first" StoryRange of each of the eleven StoryTypes (i.e., the first header, the first textbox, and so on). While a document only has one wdMainTextStory StoryRange, it can have multiple StoryRanges in some of the other StoryTypes. If, for example, the document contains sections with un-linked headers and footers, or if it contains multiple textboxes, there will be multiple StoryRanges for those StoryTypes and the code will not act upon the second and subsequent StoryRanges. To even further complicate matters, if your document contains unlinked headers or footers and one of the headers or footers are empty then VBA can have trouble "jumping" that empty header or footer and process subsequent headers and footers.

Step 2

To make sure that the code acts on every StoryRange in each each StoryType, you need to:

  • Make use of the NextStoryRange method
  • Employ a bit of VBA "trickery" as provided by Peter Hewett to bridge any empty unlinked headers and footers.

Public Sub FindReplaceAlmostAnywhere()

  Dim rngStory As Word.Range

  Dim lngJunk As Long

  'Fix the skipped blank Header/Footer problem as provided by Peter Hewett

  lngJunk = ActiveDocument.Sections( 1 ).Headers( 1 ).Range.StoryType

  'Iterate through all story types in the current document

  For Each rngStory In ActiveDocument.StoryRanges

    'Iterate through all linked stories

    Do

      With rngStory.Find

        .Text = "find text"

        .Replacement.Text = "I'm found"

        .Wrap = wdFindContinue

        .Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll

      End With

      'Get next linked story (if any)

      Set rngStory = rngStory.NextStoryRange

    Loop Until rngStory Is Nothing

  Next

End Sub

There is one remaining problem. Just like with the Find and Replace utility, the code above can miss any text that is contained in one StoryType/StoryRange nested in a different StoryType/StoryRange. While this problem does not occur with a nested StoryType/StoryRange in the wdMainTextStory StoryRange, it does occur in header and footer type StoryRanges. An example is textbox that is located in a header or footer.

Step 3

Fortunately Jonathan West provided a work around for the problem of such nested StoryRanges. The work around makes use of the fact that Textboxes and other Drawing Shapes are contained in a document’s ShapeRange collection. We can therefore check the ShapeRange in each of the six header and footer StoryRanges for the presence of Shapes. If a Shape is found, we then check each Shape for the presence of the text, and finally, if the Shape contains text we set our search range to that Shape's .TextFrame.TextRange.

This final macro contains all of the code to find and replace text “anywhere” in a document. A few enhancements have been added to make it easier to apply the desired find and replace text strings.

Note:  It is important to convert the code text to plain text before you paste: if you paste directly from a web browser, spaces are encoded as non-breaking spaces, which are not "spaces" to VBA and will cause compile- or run-time errors.  Also: Be careful of the long lines in this code.  When you paste this code into the VBA Editor, there should be NO red visible anywhere in what you pasted.  If there is, try carefully joining the top red line with the one below it (without deleting any visible characters.

Public Sub FindReplaceAnywhere()

  Dim rngStory As Word.Range

  Dim pFindTxt As String

  Dim pReplaceTxt As String

  Dim lngJunk As Long

  Dim oShp As Shape

  pFindTxt = InputBox("Enter the text that you want to find." _
   
, "FIND" )

  If pFindTxt = "" Then

    MsgBox "Cancelled by User"

    Exit Sub

  End If

  TryAgain:

  pReplaceTxt = InputBox( "Enter the replacement." , "REPLACE" )

  If pReplaceTxt = "" Then

    If MsgBox( "Do you just want to delete the found text?", _
     vbYesNoCancel) = vbNo
Then

      GoTo TryAgain

    ElseIf vbCancel Then

      MsgBox "Cancelled by User."

      Exit Sub

    End If

  End If

  'Fix the skipped blank Header/Footer problem

  lngJunk = ActiveDocument.Sections( 1 ).Headers( 1 ).Range.StoryType

  'Iterate through all story types in the current document

  For Each rngStory In ActiveDocument.StoryRanges

    'Iterate through all linked stories

    Do

      SearchAndReplaceInStory rngStory, pFindTxt, pReplaceTxt

      On Error Resume Next

      Select Case rngStory.StoryType

      Case 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11

        If rngStory.ShapeRange.Count > 0 Then

          For Each oShp In rngStory.ShapeRange

            If oShp.TextFrame.HasText Then

              SearchAndReplaceInStory oShp.TextFrame.TextRange, _

                  pFindTxt, pReplaceTxt

            End If

          Next

        End If

      Case Else

        'Do Nothing

      End Select

      On Error GoTo 0

      'Get next linked story (if any)

      Set rngStory = rngStory.NextStoryRange

    Loop Until rngStory Is Nothing

  Next

End Sub

Public Sub SearchAndReplaceInStory(ByVal rngStory As Word.Range, _

    ByVal strSearch As String , ByVal strReplace As String )

  With rngStory.Find

    .ClearFormatting

    .Replacement.ClearFormatting

    .Text = strSearch

    .Replacement.Text = strReplace

    .Wrap = wdFindContinue

    .Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll

  End With

End Sub

 

All of the above macros can be applied using:  Create a Macro


Click to view Terms of Use page

Click to view Disclaimer page