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: Automatically Formatting an ASCII File.

Automatically Formatting an ASCII File

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 11, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


One of the biggest problems in formatting what was previously an ASCII file is modifying it so there are only hard returns at the end of paragraphs. Most ASCII files have a hard return at the end of every line of the file, and two hard returns at the end of every paragraph. If you have an ASCII file that is formatted like this, such as something you downloaded off the Internet, the following macro will be invaluable. It formats an entire file so there are only hard returns at the end of paragraphs.

Sub ConvertASCII()
    Fmt "^p^p", "{|}"
    Fmt "^p", " {@}"
    Fmt " {@}", " "
    Fmt "{@}", " "
    Fmt "{|}", "^p"
End Sub
Sub Fmt(sFromWord, sToWord)
    Set myRange = ActiveDocument.Content
    myRange.Find.ClearFormatting
    myRange.Find.Execute FindText:=sFromWord, _
      ReplaceWith:=sToWord, MatchCase:=0, _
      Replace:=wdReplaceAll
End Sub

You should run the ConvertASCII macro. It calls the Fmt macro several times to replace various combinations of return characters to get toward the desired result.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (187) 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: Automatically Formatting an ASCII File.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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