Word.Tips.Net WordTips (Menu Interface)

Enforcing a Do-Not-Use Word List

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Enforcing a Do-Not-Use Word List.

Rohan works for a company that is using a new method of writing letters involving a list of approximately a hundred 'complex' words that must never be used when writing. He is looking for the best way to be alerted if any of the words on the list are used in a document.

There are several ways that this can be accomplished, and the best choice will depend on how work is done in your office, along with personal preference. For instance, one simple way to handle the words is to add them to what Word calls your "exclude" dictionary. Basically, this is a way of modifying the files used by the spell checker so that a particular word is always marked as incorrectly spelled. If you add the hundred words to the exclude list, then they will always be marked as incorrectly spelled. How you add words to the exclusion dictionary has been covered in other issues of WordTips. You can find information here:


Similar information is also available at the Word MVP site, here:


Another way you could approach your list is to create AutoCorrect entries for each of the words. When one of the words is typed, you could have it automatically replaced with a version of the word that is in some noticeable format that will call attention to the fact that the word was used. If you prefer, you could also simply have the word replaced with a space, which would mean that the offending word is automatically "erased" whenever it is typed.

There are also macro approaches that you could use. These would, primarily, be helpful to run at various points in the development of the document. The macro could do just about anything you decide it should do. For instance, it might simply collect the offending words that were found in the document and notify you that they were found, without actually making any changes. The following macro will do just that.

Sub DoNotUseList()
    Dim Word As Range
    Dim ForbiddenWords(2) As String
    Dim ForbiddenWord As Variant
    Dim BadList As String

    ' Populate array with forbidden words
    ' Remember to modify the size of the array above
    ForbiddenWords(0) = "cat"
    ForbiddenWords(1) = "dog"
    ForbiddenWords(2) = "mouse"

    BadList = "The following forbidden words have been identified:"
    For Each Word In ActiveDocument.Words
        For Each ForbiddenWord In ForbiddenWords
            If LCase(Trim(Word.Text)) = ForbiddenWord Then
                BadList = BadList & vbCrLf & ForbiddenWord
            End If

    MsgBox BadList, vbOKOnly, "Forbidden Words"
End Sub

To change the words that are on the forbidden list, simply change the size and contents of the ForbiddenWords array. You should make sure that there are no capital letters and no phrases in the array contents. When you run the macro, each of the words in the document is checked against each of the forbidden words, and you are notified at the end if there are any found.

Other similar macro-based ways to handle this type of problem have been presented in other issues of WordTips:


WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (521) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Enforcing a Do-Not-Use Word List.

Related Tips:

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!


Leave your own comment:

  Notify me about new comments ONLY FOR THIS TIP
Notify me about new comments ANYWHERE ON THIS SITE
Hide my email address
*What is 5+3 (To prevent automated submissions and spam.)
           Commenting Terms

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

Our Company

Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.

About Tips.Net

Contact Us


Advertise with Us

Our Privacy Policy

Our Sites


Beauty and Style




DriveTips (Google Drive)

ExcelTips (Excel 97–2003)

ExcelTips (Excel 2007–2016)



Home Improvement

Money and Finances


Pests and Bugs

Pets and Animals

WindowsTips (Microsoft Windows)

WordTips (Word 97–2003)

WordTips (Word 2007–2016)

Our Products

Helpful E-books

Newsletter Archives


Excel Products

Word Products

Our Authors

Author Index

Write for Tips.Net

Copyright © 2016 Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.