Word VBA

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This is a collection of recipes for scripting Microsoft Word using Visual Basic for Applications.

Overview[edit]

Scripting in Microsoft Word is pretty easy. There are some things to know. Like macros. We’ll start from small parts and work to the bigger ones. Let’s start. First, we’ll need to enable the Developer tab on Word. Go to File > Options > Customize Ribbon and then find Developer and check it. Create a file and save it as an .doc or .docm file. Now, we’re ready to write out code! Note that word uses Visual Basic Script aka VBScript.

Part 1: Macros[edit]

Macros are actions made when a button is pressed. For this example, Word has two types of macros. Macros for when a button is pressed and macros for when an action happens inside of Word. We’ll be focusing on Word macros that are programmable. We’ll start on something called AutoOpen(). What AutoOpen() does is that when Microsoft Word is opened, any code that is put under AutoOpen() will execute when you launch Microsoft Word. Let's write some code to demonstrate how this works.

Sub AutoOpen() 'Macro used when Word just started up.
	MsgBox "Hello World!", 0, "Title" 'Creates message box after Word is open.
End Sub

This code executes when Microsoft Word is open. Since the macro name AutoOpen() executes code when Word opens. Another macro we'll be looking at is AutoClose(). AutoClose() is a macro when closing Word. So if we put the same code that we put under AutoClose(), that msgbox will show up when Word is closing.

Sub AutoClose() 'Macro used when Word is about to close
	MsgBox "Hello World!", 0, "Title" 'Creates message box when closing Word
End Sub

Creating a file under directories[edit]

We can create files with VBScript using simple code. This code will create a text file (or whatever type of file you wanna create) containing text. Just be careful if you have any important files on your desktop (or where you've saved the document) because they will be overwritten.

Sub AutoOpen() 'Macro used when Word just started up.
	Open "test.txt" For Output As #1 'Creates text file in current directory
	Print #1, "Hello World!" 'Writes text in text file.
	Close #1 'EOF
End Sub

We can also create files under a custom directory. Like C:\Hello-World. It's the same way as writing a text file.

Sub AutoOpen() 'Macro used when Word just started up.
	FileSystem.MkDir "C:\Hello-World" 'Creates directory
	Open "test.txt" For Output As #1 'Creates text file in the C:\Hello-World directory
	Print #1, "Hello World!" 'Writes text in text file.
	Close #1 'EOF
End Sub

Macro Recording[edit]

A great way of learning about Word VBA is using its macro recording function. With the function, you tell Word to start recording, then perform various steps as if you were working without a macro recorder, and finally, tell Word to stop recording. VBA code corresponding to what you did using Word GUI has been recorded by Word. While the code often cannot be meaningfully used without a modification, by starting from it and modifying it you can save a lot of time that would otherwise be spent reading the VBA documentation.

Menu paths:

  • Word 2007: View (tab) > Macros (group) > down-pointing triangle below Macros button > Record Macro
  • Word 2007: Developer (tab) > Code (group) > Record Macro

Links:

Text Editing[edit]

You can insert and delete text as follows:

Selection.TypeText Text:="Inserted as if by typing on keyboard"
Selection.Delete 'Deleted the single char after cursor, or a non-empty selection

Moving Cursor[edit]

You can move cursor around as follows:

Selection.MoveDown Unit:=wdLine
Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCell 'At the end of a row, moves to the next row

Selecting[edit]

You can select regions of text as follows:

Selection.EndKey Unit:=wdLine, Extend:=wdExtend

Formatting[edit]

You can format text including text color, background color, and font properties as follows:

Selection.Font.Color = RGB(0, 0, 255) 'Foreground color AKA text color
Selection.Range.HighlightColorIndex = wdYellow 'Background color as highlight
Selection.Font.Name = "Verdana" 'Font face
Selection.Font.Size = 8 'Font size
Selection.Font.Bold = True 'Or False
Selection.Font.Bold = wdToggle
Selection.Font.Italic = True
Selection.Font.Underline = True

Copying and Pasting[edit]

You copy and paste as follows:

Selection.Copy
Selection.Paste

Clipboard[edit]

Prerequisites: Accessing the clipboard from a Word document requires that a reference to MSForms (Microsoft Forms Object Library) is set in the document. You can set the reference by adding and subsequent removing of a user form, via Insert > UserForm in a pop-up menu. To check the presence of a reference, see Tools > References menu.

Placing text on the clipboard:

Set MyClipboard = New MSForms.DataObject
MyClipboard.SetText "My string"
MyClipboard.PutInClipboard

Getting text from the clipboard:

Set MyClipboard = New MSForms.DataObject
MyClipboard.GetFromClipboard
TextContent = MyClipboard.GetText

Links:

  • DataObject Class at msdn.microsoft.com; contains a section on Visual Basic, whose applicability to Word VBA is unclear.

Various[edit]

Sub PasteTabSeparatedPlainTextToTable()
  'This paste prevents loss of formatting of the table cells
  
  Set MyClipboard = New MSForms.DataObject
  MyClipboard.GetFromClipboard
  TextContent = MyClipboard.GetText
 
  SplitArray = Split(TextContent, vbNewLine)
  For Each Element In SplitArray
    SplitArray2 = Split(Element, vbTab)
    TabSkipNeeded = False
    Set OldSelection = Selection.Range
    For Each CellContent In SplitArray2
      If TabSkipNeeded Then
        Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCell
      Else
        TabSkipNeeded = True
        Selection.EndKey Unit:=wdLine, Extend:=wdExtend
      End If
      Selection.TypeText Text:=CellContent
    Next
    OldSelection.Select
    Selection.MoveDown Unit:=wdLine
  Next
End Sub

Related Wikibooks[edit]