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: Checking for Words and Phrases.

Checking for Words and Phrases

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 25, 2018)

David is a teacher who assigns his students a series of about twenty words and phrases that they must use in a composition. Each word or phrase must be used at least once. The students get one point for each time they use one of the words or phrases, although nothing extra for duplicates. David is looking for an easy way to mark their work, perhaps with a macro that searches for each word and phrase and creates some sort of record of their usage. Dave's desire is for Word to do the searching and counting so that he can focus his energy on assessing the quality of the composition.

If you want to manually figure out how many occurrences there are of a particular word or phrase, you can use Word's Find feature:

  1. Press Ctrl+F. Word displays the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. In the Find What box, enter the word or phrase you want to find.
  3. Click the More button, if it is available.
  4. If you are searching for a single word, click the Find Whole Words Only check box.
  5. Click the Highlight All Items Found check box.
  6. Click Find All.

Word shows you, in the dialog box, how many occurrences it located of your word or phrase. This technique, while handy, loses some of its charm if you need to repeat it for twenty words and phrases in thirty-five different student compositions. Indeed, a macro is a more practical approach.

It would be very convenient if the number of occurrences displayed in the Find and Replace dialog box was accessible through VBA. As far as I have been able to determine, this value is not accessible. That means that you must rely on repeated searching and counting in the macro itself. One good example of how this can be done is found in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/240157

The code in this page could be changed, relatively easily, to search for a series of words or phrases and display all the results at once. Another rather unique approach is to reverse the assumptions about the student compositions: assume that they use each of the words or phrases (they start with a score of 20 if there are twenty words and phrases) and only subtract points if they don't use one of them.

Sub ScoreCard()
    Dim iScore As Integer
    Dim iTopScore As Integer
    Dim WordList As Variant
    Dim i As Integer
    Dim sUnused As String

    ' Enter the words or phrases in the array below;
    ' each word or phrase in quotation marks and
    ' separated by commas
    WordList = Array("Mr.", "jelly", "wince", _
      "proper", "fix", "compound", "high and dry")

    ' Counts the number of words in the array
    iTopScore = CInt(UBound(WordList)) + 1
    iScore = iTopScore

    ' Counts the number of "misses"
    sUnused = ""
    For i = 1 To iTopScore
        With Selection.Find
            .Forward = True
            .Wrap = wdFindContinue
            .Format = False
            .MatchCase = False
            .MatchAllWordForms = False
            .MatchWholeWord = True
            .Execute FindText:=WordList(i - 1)
        End With
        If Selection.Find.Found = False Then
           iScore = iScore - 1
           sUnused = sUnused & vbCrLf & WordList(i - 1)
        End If
    Next i

    ' Displays the score
    If iScore = iTopScore Then
        sUnused = "All words and phrases were used."
    Else
        sUnused = "The following words and phrases" & _
          " were not used:" & sUnused
    End If
    sUnused = vbCrLf & vbCrLf & sUnused
    MsgBox Prompt:="The score is " & iScore & _
      " of " & iTopScore & sUnused, Title:="What's the Score?"
End Sub

The macro displays a score for the composition and also displays any of the words or phrases that were not used in the composition.

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 (333) 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: Checking for Words and Phrases.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Clearing All Tab Stops

Tab stops allow you to modify the horizontal position at which text is positioned on a line. If you want to get rid of ...

Discover More

Sequentially Inputting Information

When entering data in a worksheet, you may only want to add information to the cells in a particular range. You can ...

Discover More

Moving and Selecting Rows

If you need to move down a row and then select that row, you may wonder if there is a shortcut to handle such a ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (menu)

Generating a List of Dates

When creating tracking documents in Word, you may need to come up with a series of dates in the document. You can type ...

Discover More

Messed-up Typing

It is not uncommon for newcomers to Word to overwrite their existing document text as they are editing. There is a reason ...

Discover More

Picking Up Where You Left Off

Need a quick way to get back to a where you previously edited? Here's a shortcut that will serve you well.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 + 2?

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


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.