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As you are analyzing your documents, you may wonder if there is a way to create a word frequency list. In other words, you may want to generate a list of every unique word in your document, along with the number of times it appears.
Unfortunately, Word doesn't include such a feature. You can, however, create your own using a macro. The following VBA macro is an example:
Sub WordFrequency() Dim SingleWord As String 'Raw word pulled from doc Const maxwords = 9000 'Maximum unique words allowed Dim Words(maxwords) As String 'Array to hold unique words Dim Freq(maxwords) As Integer 'Frequency counter for unique words Dim WordNum As Integer 'Number of unique words Dim ByFreq As Boolean 'Flag for sorting order Dim ttlwds As Long 'Total words in the document Dim Excludes As String 'Words to be excluded Dim Found As Boolean 'Temporary flag Dim j As Integer 'Temporary variables Dim k As Integer ' Dim l As Integer ' Dim Temp As Integer ' Dim tword As String ' ' Set up excluded words Excludes = "[the][a][of][is][to][for][this][that][by][be][and][are]" ' Find out how to sort ByFreq = True ans = InputBox$("Sort by WORD or by FREQ?", "Sort order", "WORD") If ans = "" Then End If UCase(ans) = "WORD" Then ByFreq = False End If Selection.HomeKey Unit:=wdStory System.Cursor = wdCursorWait WordNum = 0 ttlwds = ActiveDocument.Words.Count ' Control the repeat For Each aword In ActiveDocument.Words SingleWord = Trim(LCase(aword)) If SingleWord < "a" Or SingleWord > "z" Then SingleWord = "" 'Out of range? If InStr(Excludes, "[" & SingleWord & "]") Then SingleWord = "" 'On exclude list? If Len(SingleWord) > 0 Then Found = False For j = 1 To WordNum If Words(j) = SingleWord Then Freq(j) = Freq(j) + 1 Found = True Exit For End If Next j If Not Found Then WordNum = WordNum + 1 Words(WordNum) = SingleWord Freq(WordNum) = 1 End If If WordNum > maxwords - 1 Then j = MsgBox("The maximum array size has been exceeded. _ Increase maxwords.", vbOKOnly) Exit For End If End If ttlwds = ttlwds - 1 StatusBar = "Remaining: " & ttlwds & " Unique: " & WordNum Next aword ' Now sort it into word order For j = 1 To WordNum - 1 k = j For l = j + 1 To WordNum If (Not ByFreq And Words(l) < Words(k)) Or (ByFreq And Freq(l) > Freq(k)) Then k = l Next l If k <> j Then tword = Words(j) Words(j) = Words(k) Words(k) = tword Temp = Freq(j) Freq(j) = Freq(k) Freq(k) = Temp End If StatusBar = "Sorting: " & WordNum - j Next j ' Now write out the results tmpName = ActiveDocument.AttachedTemplate.FullName Documents.Add Template:=tmpName, NewTemplate:=False Selection.ParagraphFormat.TabStops.ClearAll With Selection For j = 1 To WordNum .TypeText Text:=Trim(Str(Freq(j))) & vbTab & Words(j) & vbCrLf Next j End With System.Cursor = wdCursorNormal j = MsgBox("There were " & Trim(Str(WordNum)) & _ " different words ", vbOKOnly, "Finished") End Sub
When you open a document and run this macro, you are asked if you want to create a list sorted by word or by frequency. If you choose word, then the resulting list is shown in alphabetical order. If you choose frequency, then the resulting list is in descending order based on how many times the word appeared in the document.
While the macro is running, the status bar indicates what is happening. Depending on the size of your document and the speed of your computer, the macro may take a while to complete. (I ran it with a 719-page document with over 349,000 words and it took about five minutes to complete.)
Note that there is a line in the macro that sets a value in the Excludes string. This string contains words that the macro will ignore when putting together the word list. If you want to add words to the list, simply add them to the string, between [square brackets]. Also, make sure the exclusion words are in lowercase.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (879) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.
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