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: Understanding Document Variables.

Understanding Document Variables

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 1, 2016)

Visual Basic for Applications allows you to create persistent variables that are associated with a document. Document variables are typically used to maintain some sort of information from one invocation of a macro to the next. For instance, you may want your macro to remember the defaults that it uses when prompting the user. These defaults can be stored within document variables.

To create a document variable within a macro, you use the Add method with the Variables collection. All you need to do is provide the name for the variable and the value you want assigned to the variable. For instance, the following macro line will create a variable called MyVar and assign it a value of 27:

ActiveDocument.Variables.Add Name:="MyVar", Value:=27

At a later time you can access the value associated with the variable by using the variable's name, as follows:

DefaultToUse = ActiveDocument.Variables("MyVar")

Typically, users would never see the contents of a document variable; they are intended primarily for use within macros. You can, however, insert the contents of a document variable directly within a document by using the DOCVARIABLE field, as follows:

{ DOCVARIABLE "MyVar" }

When updated, the field returns the value assigned to the MyVar document variable.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (813) 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: Understanding Document Variables.

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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